The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) are putting proceeds of crime money to good use with grants to community groups. The national team, who investigate and prosecute loan sharks, are encouraging community groups to bid for grants of up to £5,000.
This money, which has been confiscated from convicted loan sharks through the Proceeds of Crime Act (2002), is being used to fund local community projects which raise awareness of illegal money lending.
The IMLT will vote on which applicants will be granted the funding to support their community project. The aim of this national scheme is to see the illegal earnings convicted loan sharks have made, used wisely, to benefit key areas and reinvest the money back into local communities.
Applicants are welcome to bid for the cash to spend on any worthwhile community project which does at least one of the following:
- Contributes to raising awareness of the dangers of using loan sharks
- Prevents crime and disorder and publicises the Stop Loan Sharks message
- Promotes the work of the Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) in communities
- Encourages reporting of loan sharks
Loan sharks often trap borrowers into spiralling debt by charging astronomical rates of interest and arbitrary extra charges. In some cases, loan sharks have been known to resort to bullying tactics such as intimidation, threats and even violence to enforce repayment among borrowers.
Examples of previous projects which have been funded using proceeds of crime money include:
- Local drama production to warn residents about the dangers of loan sharks
- Loan shark ‘takeover’ across a local radio station
- A community sofa which was created using different fabrics and featured various loan shark warning messages
- Stop Loan Sharks mural in a local school
- A loan shark prevention badge created by a Girl Guides group
- Groups can apply for a maximum of £5,000 per project idea.
- Applicants can submit more than one project idea.
- For more information about this funding scheme and to receive an electronic application form, please contact LIAISE Manager Dave Benbow by emailing David.A.Benbow@birmingham.gov.uk
- The closing date for applications is Saturday 30 June 2018.