Proceeds of Crime (POCA) Grants Now Available!
The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) has funds available to enable local organisations to access grants that actively reduce crime and disorder and raise awareness of loan sharks.
The Fund is formed of money seized from illegal money lenders under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA) and is awarded to groups who wish to invest in local community projects.
During 2018/19 the team granted £141,269 for 37 crime-busting initiatives.
Groups can apply for up to £5000 to spend on any worthwhile community project that meets the criteria:
- Contributes to raising awareness of the dangers of using loan sharks
- Prevents crime and disorder and makes a difference in local communities
- Promotes the work of the Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) in communities
- Encourages reporting of loan sharks and signposts victims to the team
The IMLT funding has supported many projects over the years and helped local people and neighbourhoods avoid loan sharks.
Here are some examples of past projects funded by proceeds of crime:
Northfield Community Partnership (NCP) was awarded £5,000 to deliver a fun beach theme festival in the community. The “No Sharks at the Beach” event involved various art activities and families produced an interactive mobile graffiti mural to raise awareness of the perils of loan sharks.
Great Places Housing Group was awarded £4,700 to deliver a series of public drop-in sessions and school awareness workshops. This involved fun activities such as making fish themed lanterns and a large showstopper illuminated shark sculpture.
School children also learnt how to better manage their money during sessions, using the IMLT financial education packs. The creative pieces went on display at More Music’s popular Lantern Festival last November.
A local Youth Service was awarded £3,500 to deliver an art project and design a mural highlighting the dangers of illegal money lenders in Orford.
Tony Quigley, head of the Illegal Money Lending Team, said:
“This is a fantastic scheme which has greatly benefited voluntary and community organisations over the years. Our financial investigators are able to use the POCA legislation available to recover money and assets obtained by criminals. It is satisfying taking money off loan sharks and spending it on worthy causes in communities.”
The grant cannot be spent on any of the following:
- Staff training and publicity materials (we can provide these free of charge – contact us for more information).
- Staff salaries, day to day running costs of your organisation or vehicle costs (we can pay for additional sessional staff costs and current staff to deliver activities that are outside their normal remit).
- Film productions and plays (we ask for a guaranteed audience of 50 people minimum).
- Freebies, publicity merchandise and distribution costs
- Food (tea and coffee can be funded for projects)
- Any costs you may incur whilst producing your application
If you’ve got what it takes and your project idea meets the criteria, please complete an application form and return it electronically to: Catherine.firstname.lastname@example.org by midnight on the closing date.
The closing date for applications is 30th June 2019.
Nationally, Illegal Money Lending Teams have secured more than 385 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to nearly 330 years’ worth of custodial sentences. They have written off £74 million worth of illegal debt and helped over 28,000 people.
To report a loan shark call the 24/7 confidential hotline 0300 555 2222 or email us.