Hull & East Yorkshire Credit Union have been awarded £3,000 of proceeds of crime money to spend on a project which will help raise further awareness of loan sharks throughout Goole and Hull.

During an assembly at Boothferry Primary School today (April, 28), Hull & East Yorkshire Credit Union were presented with a large cheque for £3,000 by IMLT mascot “Sid the Shark”.

Hull & East Yorkshire Credit Union are one of three winners to receive the cash prize in the Stop Loan Sharks National Champions Awards. Other winners include Shotton Colliery Community Centre and Havant Citizens Advice project, Work Out Your Money (WOYM).

Hull & East Yorkshire Credit Union received the award as a result of their ‘Shop the Shark’ campaign which helped to raise awareness of the dangers of borrowing from loan sharks within the local community and primary schools in the area.

The IMLT worked with the National Champion to develop the ‘Shop the Shark’ campaign, which targeted different age groups in Goole and Hull.

The credit union have worked with a number of Primary Schools to deliver educational assemblies to pupils on safe borrowing and the difference between ‘needs’ and ‘wants’.

Pictured: Sid the Shark with pupils at Boothferry Primary School during Hull & East Yorkshire Credit Union’s ‘Shop the Shark’ school event

One school who have had a large involvement in the ‘Shop the Shark’ campaign has been Boothferry Primary School. Pupils at the Goole School were taught about the importance of responsible borrowing and saving habits. Since the campaign first launched, many pupils have gone on to join the credit union and have got in to the habit of saving from an early age after opening a children’s savings account.

Hull & East Yorkshire Credit Union have taken IMLT mascot “Sid the Shark” on a tour around the shopping centre in Greatfield Housing Estate in Hull, where one of the credit unions contact points is situated. The credit union were concerned that residents living on local housing estates were more at risk of falling victim of a loan shark, so took action to get the message across locally that these criminals must be avoided at all costs.

The National Champion went on to promote their ‘Shop the Shark’ promotion within local supermarkets such as Tesco Superstore in Goole. As a result of speaking to customers about the benefits of saving, a number of new accounts were opened.

Pictured: Jo Winton, Goole Development Officer with Sid the Shark at Tesco Goole as part of Hull & East Yorkshire Credit Union’s ‘Shop the Shark’ event

The credit union have successfully reached over 500 schoolchildren in the Goole area with their ‘Shop the Shark’ promotion and 45 new savings accounts have been opened.

John Smith, Chief Executive of Hull & East Yorkshire Credit Union, said:

“We are thrilled to have been presented with this award. As a member-owned organisation our mission is to help people to make the most of their money. Jo Evans, our Goole Development Officer, has worked very hard to encourage local families to use only authorised and responsible lenders and to build up regular savings so that they don’t get exploited by loan sharks. It is great to receive this recognition for our efforts.”

Tony Quigley, Head of Service for the England Illegal Money Lending Team said:

“Well done to all our winners and ‘highly commended’ runners up in the National Champions Awards 2016. You have all contributed to making a difference and tackling this crime in your community.”

“Loan sharks are a scourge on society and cause harm and misery to their victims. If you or someone you know has been a victim of a loan shark, we urge you to get in touch with IMLT on 0300 555 2222. You call will be handled by a trained officer and all information will be treated in the strictest confidence.”

Nationally, Illegal Money Lending Teams have secured more than 370 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to nearly 318 years’ worth of custodial sentences. They have written off £71.9 million worth of illegal debt and helped over 26,500 people.

To report a loan shark:

Call the 24/7 confidential hotline 0300 555 2222

Text a report to 078600 22116

Visit the website www.stoploansharks.co.uk

E-mail reportaloanshark@stoploansharks.gov.uk

Private message us on www.facebook.com/stoploansharksproject