MONEY confiscated from illegal ‘loan sharks’ is now available to help vulnerable people in South Tyneside.
Borough groups and individuals are being encouraged to bid for a share of the £3,000 up for grabs.
The ‘Your Choice’ scheme will give residents a say in how money taken from loan sharks is spent to improve their community.
Residents, charities, community and voluntary groups, as well as schools and statutory agencies – that benefit those who live in South Tyneside – are welcome to apply for the cash.
It will be spent on any worthwhile community project which contributes to raising the awareness of the dangers of using loan sharks or promotes professional credit options to people at risk of using such lenders.
The money has been confiscated from illegal money lenders, as part of an initiative organised by England’s Illegal Money Lending Team, in partnership with the borough council.
Bids are invited for up to £250, with all applications needing to be submitted by Friday, August 30. It aims to see the loan sharks’ money used to benefit key areas.
Bids that meet the criteria will be listed online and bidders will be invited to showcase their projects to local community members at an event in September.
They will then vote online and in person for how they would like the money to be spent, with the winning projects then being awarded the cash.
Coun Tracey Dixon, South Tyneside Council’s lead member for area management and community safety, said: “Illegal money lending is an issue right across the country and we work closely with the Illegal Money Lending Team to tackle the loan sharks at a local level.
“I would encourage local groups to take advantage of this funding as it is a chance to make a real difference in the lives of vulnerable people.”
Tony Quigley, head of England’s Illegal Money Lending Team, said: “Illegal money lenders are a scourge on our communities, and can have a hugely detrimental impact on the lives of their victims. Through schemes such as this, we are able to use money for something positive and help prevent these criminals from operating in the future.”
For an application form, contact Catherine.firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0750 0809 339. Victims of illegal money lenders can seek help by contacting the Illegal Money Lending Team in confidence on 0300 5552,222.