Five thousand pounds, which has been confiscated from illegal money lenders, is being used to raise awareness of the dangers linked to borrowing from loan sharks.
A panel of judges will vote on which groups will be granted funding to support their community project to raise awareness.
The aim of this funding scheme is to see the illegal earnings these loan sharks once made, used wisely, to benefit key areas.
Local residents, charities, community and voluntary groups, schools and statutory agencies in East Sussex are welcome to apply for the cash, to spend on any worthwhile community project which does at least one of the following:
• Contributes to raising the awareness of the dangers of using ‘loan sharks’
• Promotes professional credit options to people at risk of using ‘loan sharks’
• Promotes financial management or budgeting to people at risk of using ‘loan sharks’
• Reduces crime, disorder and illegal money lending in the local area
Loan sharks often trap borrowers into spiralling debt by charging astronomical rates of interest and arbitrary extra charges. When their borrowers are unable to pay, many will resort to bully tactics such as intimidation, threats or violence to enforce repayment.
Tony Quigley, Head of Service for the Illegal Money Lending Team, said, “Illegal money lenders are a scourge on our communities, and can have a huge detrimental impact on the lives of their victims. We’re looking to fund community projects in East Sussex, as we are able to use this money to fund something positive and help prevent these criminals from operating in the future. If you think your project meets our criteria, then please come forward and bid.
“Also, if you have been a victim of an illegal money lender, we urge you to in touch with the team on 0300 555 2222.”
Previously, proceeds of crime money has helped fund local drama productions to warn people about the dangers of using loan sharks, community arts project producing Stop Loan Sharks murals and the development of a money management and loan shark prevention badge for the Girl Guides.
Groups can apply for up to a maximum of £5000 per project idea. Applicants can submit more than one project idea if they wish.
For more information and to receive an application form, please contact (Catherine.firstname.lastname@example.org)
The closing date for applications is September 30.