A local project which used graffiti art to warn residents about the dangers of loan sharks has won national recognition.
Staff from Incommunities and Bradford District Credit Union have been highly commended for their outstanding work raising awareness of illegal money lenders and the help available to victims.
They were presented with a ‘Stop Loan Sharks Champion’ award by David Benbow from the national Illegal Money Lending Team at the event at City Hall, Bradford last week
The partnership delivered four family friendly events at community centres in Keighley, Scholemoor and Holme Wood using a graffiti artist from a local community artwork group to create loan shark murals. These featured the stop loan sharks helpline number – 0300 555 2222.
Geraldine Howley, Incommunities’ Group Chief Executive, said: "I am delighted for Pam Chahal-Royal and Tracy Tough from our Community Resilience Team for their hard work. Through their community links they reached hundreds of adults and young people to highlight the dangers of going to illegal lenders.
"They worked closely with Bradford District Credit Union (BDCU), the Illegal Money Lending Team and Bradford Council to raise awareness of responsible saving and borrowing."
Ian Brewer, Financial Inclusion Officer at Bradford District Credit Union, said: "The Credit Union takes seriously the pressure people are under from loan sharks and want to inspire hope through our holistic approach to savings and borrowing. We deliver workshops around the district as well as attend events with partner organisations to raise awareness of the pitfalls in using such lenders.
The national Stop Loan Sharks Awards, hosted by the Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT), recognise organisations that help the fight against loan sharks and commend those who have made a real difference in communities by highlighting this crime."
Tony Quigley, Head of the Illegal Money Lending Team, said: "We were delighted to present Bradford District Credit Union and Incommunities with this highly commended award for their excellent continued work.
"We’d urge anyone who has been affected by illegal money lending to contact us in confidence on 0300 555 2222 or visit www.stoploansharks.uk"
Nationally, Illegal Money Lending Teams have secured more than 380 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to nearly 329 years’ worth of custodial sentences. They have written off £73.7 million worth of illegal debt and helped over 28,000 people.