Priorswood Community Centre in Taunton received a highly commended award on Wednesday (19/04) for their project, which involved a number of events being delivered in the local community to raise awareness of the dangers of loan sharks.

The Community Centre, which is run by North Taunton Partnership, have delivered a number of events over the past year to make the community aware of the risks involved when borrowing money from a loan shark.

The organisation helped to engage the local community by delivering free competitions for children, such as their ‘Name the Shark Competition’. This opened windows for advisors and gave advisors the opportunity to speak to young people about what a loan shark is and the dangers of being involved with one.

As well as running competitions to target younger communities, the centre also reached out to adults by promoting the services of the local credit union, as a legal and safe alternative to borrowing money. Priorswood Community Centre also operates as a collection point for Moorvale Credit Union, with members saving over £800 since the project launched.

The community centre have continuously helped to promote the Stop Loan Sharks message by running a series of warning posters across their information screens to signpost victims to the help and services available through the England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT).

Rebecca Vile, Event Coordinator for North Taunton Partnership, said:

“It was great to be a part of this important project and to highlight the dangers of loan sharks to people in North Taunton. We are very pleased to receive a ‘highly commended’ award for the work we have done and we will continue to raise awareness of the risks of borrowing from loan sharks.”

To find out more information about membership and the services available from Moorvile Credit Union, please visit Priorswood Community Centre on Eastwick Road between Monday – Friday during the hours of 9:30am and 12:30pm or call 01823 353643 to speak to an advisor.

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