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Council wins Stop Loan Sharks Award

Posted on 4th December, 2015 by Lincoln Against Poverty

City of Lincoln Council’s Anti-Poverty Strategy has received a Highly Commended Award for their outstanding endeavours in raising awareness of the crime of illegal money lending.

The annual Stop Loan Sharks awards, which are hosted by the England Illegal Money Lending Team, are taking place for the third time to recognise those who have made a valuable contribution to highlighting the dangers of loan sharks in their communities. Only five agencies nationally received the Highly Commended award.

As part of its Anti-Poverty Strategy, the council, working alongside partners including CAB, food banks, Lincoln City FC and HMP Lincoln, delivered a four month campaign which aimed to connect financially vulnerable people with organisations that could help. November 2014 focused on loan sharks, warning people against using them and signposting anyone who had borrowed in this way to the Illegal Money Lending Team for support and advice.

Leaflets were included in every food parcel distributed by the food bank, Lincoln City FC advertised the campaign on match-day, advice cards were distributed through payslips, at courts and by partner agencies across the City. The campaign achieved a reach of over 150,000 people.

Councillor Rosanne Kirk received the certificate from Stan the Shark today (pictured).

Councillor Kirk said: “It is a great honour for the Lincoln Anti-Poverty Strategy to have received a Highly Commended Award by the Illegal Money Lending Team. This is testament to all the hard work of the many partners in the city who support the Strategy. It really is great for everyone to be recognised for the work that has been done in Lincoln to raise awareness of the support available for people affected by illegal loan sharks.”

Tony Quigley, Head of the England Illegal Money Lending Team, said: “All of the submissions we received were worthy of an award but City of Lincoln received their commendation because of the scale of their project.

Loan sharks cause nothing but misery in our communities, using the most callous methods to force people into paying back far and above what they have borrowed and can afford. City of Lincoln have shown a real commitment to highlighting this issue in the local community and with their support and that of other key agencies, we are sending a clear message that this crime will not be tolerated. If you have been the victim of a loan shark, please report them in confidence on 0300 555 2222.”

Nationally, Illegal Money Lending Teams have secured more than 332 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to nearly 212 years-worth of custodial sentences. They have written off over £63 million worth of illegal debt and helped over 26,000 people.