HEXHAM EVENT TO HIGHLIGHT THE DANGERS OF LOAN SHARKS

Hexham residents will learn about the dangers of getting involved with a loan shark during a free informative event this Thursday (June, 1).

The event, which has been organised by the England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) and Hexham Community Partnership, will educate residents on the dangers of borrowing money from unauthorised money lenders. Guests will have the opportunity to gain valuable advice from a range of organisations on the day, including their local credit union; a legal and safer alternative when borrowing money.

The half-term activities will take place at Hexham Middle School on Wanless Lane between 10:30am and 2:30pm this Thursday (June, 1)

During the first part of the event, guests will watch a free, hour-long drama performance based on a victim’s experience of being at the grip of a loan shark.

The thought provoking performance, called ‘It’s Only a Few Quid’, will be presented by a cast from Shontal Theatre Group.

‘It’s Only a Few Quid’ looks at the life of Gill and how her life is turned upside down following the loss of her job. As a single mother, with a son to feed and clothe, Gill needs emergency cash to support her family whilst being out of work. Unfortunately, based on her financial circumstances, Gill turns to a loan shark to borrow money.

The production will be followed by an open forum where guests will have the opportunity to sign up to Northumberland Credit Union and gain valuable information and advice from a range of partner agencies.

Guests will also enjoy a free buffet lunch and a round of chocolate bingo.

A variety of partner organisations will be at the event to speak to residents who may have concerns regarding benefits, finances, housing or suspected illegal money lending activity.

Attending partners include; Christians Against Poverty, Churches Action Poverty, Citizens Advice Northumberland, Isos Housing Benefit Team, No 28 Hexham Community Project, Northumberland Credit Union, Northumberland Trading Standards, Safer Communities, Tynedale Community Bank, West Northumberland Children’s Centre, Northumberland Domestic Abuse Service and West Northumberland Food Bank.

Hexham Youth Initiative and West Northumberland Children’s Centre will be running free activities for children on the day. To ensure your child gets a spot, please contact Hexham Children’s Centre, Beaufront Avenue, Hexham, NE46 1JD on 01434 601698

Northumberland Credit Union will also be running a limited promotion on the day, which will award new members will a £25 savings boost.

The first 50 people to join Northumberland Credit Union before 30th June, and save £1 per week for the first 3 months, will be awarded with a £25 boost. A £2 joining fee and two forms of ID will be required upon sign-up.

This new incentive is being funded using proceeds of crime money, cash which has been confiscated from convicted loan sharks.

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

“We are working with our partners to educate residents about the dangerous consequences of getting involved with a loan shark and highlight the help and support available to anyone who has been a victim of one.

“Illegal money lenders can have a horrific impact on our communities, and should never be used under any circumstances. If you or someone you know has been a victim of a loan shark, the team are here to help on 0300 555 2222. Your call will be handled by a trained IMLT officer and all information will be treated in the strictest confidence.”

Catherine Homer, Hexham East Councillor at Northumberland County Council, said:

“This is a very real issue for many people and we are pleased to be supporting the event both financially, with a contribution from my members allowance and by also being a part of the team on the day. I hope as many residents as possible will join us for a variety of free, fun activities that hold a very important message.”

Claire Heaviside, Community Project Officer at Hexham Community Partnership, said:

“Hexham Community Partnership is pleased to be working with the England Illegal Money Lending Team to raise awareness of loan sharks and prevent any Hexham residents from falling victim of one.

“If you are experiencing financial difficulties or need access to affordable credit, we have two local credit unions, Northumberland Credit Union (01670 503666) and Tynedale Community Bank (01207 28451). Borrowing from a credit union is a much safer method than getting involved with a loan shark; please think twice before putting you and your family at risk.

Nationally, Illegal Money Lending Teams have secured more than 378 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to nearly 325 years’ worth of custodial sentences. They have written off £71.9 million worth of illegal debt and helped over 26,500 people.

‘IT’S ONLY A FEW QUID’ IS NOT SUITABLE FOR UNDER 16’S

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