Residents in Newcastle are being invited to a family fun day which will help raise awareness of the dangers of getting involved with a loan shark and promote the legal alternatives that people can use to borrow money.

The community based event, which is due to take place on Wednesday (12, April) is being hosted by Your Homes Newcastle (YHN).

YHN, the arm’s length management organisation responsible for managing Newcastle City Council’s housing stock, is working in partnership with the England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT), Moneywise Credit Union and Simonside Community Centre to make residents aware of the dangers of borrowing from unlicensed money lenders and encourage them to get in to the habit of saving by opening a credit union account.

The family fun day, which will take place at Simonside Community Centre on Bedeburn Road, is being funded by the IMLT using proceeds of crime money, confiscated from convicted loan sharks.

Families are invited to attend the event between 10am and 2pm this Wednesday, where there will be a range of activities taking place for them to enjoy, including arts and crafts, cookery, face painting and sports.

There will also be a dedicated Kids’ Club open to children between the ages of 5-11 years, costing only £1 per child. Under 5s can enjoy free face painting and can have their artwork entered into a colouring competition, where there’ll be a range of prizes up for grabs.

Tina Drury, YHN’s Managing Director, said:

“We’re very keen to make sure all of our customers are aware of the dangers of borrowing money from unlicensed lenders and we regularly work with the Illegal Money Lending Team to raise awareness of the issues connected to so-called loan sharks.

“This family-friendly event is a fantastic opportunity for parents to find out more information about safe and effective ways to save, while at the same time providing some really fun activities for children in the holidays. I would encourage any of our customers who are worried about money not to suffer in silence – there are many ways we can help, so please contact your local housing office if you have concerns.”

During the event, adults will be able to speak to staff from Moneywise Credit Union about the benefits of saving and opening a credit union account.

Moneywise Credit Union are currently running a new promotion, using proceeds of crime money to sponsor new credit union accounts.  

The first 50 people to join Moneywise Credit Union at the event and save a minimum of £1 per week for 12 weeks; will receive a £25 savings boost straight in to their credit union account. Guests must provide ID and proof of address to join Moneywise Credit Union at the event.

Andrew Breese, Chief Executive Officer at Moneywise Credit Union, said:

“Moneywise currently serves over 8,000 adults across the city with access to affordable loans and a secure place to save. Local residents can have confidence in an organisation that puts people before profit. A typical loan with Moneywise for £300 costs less than £7 a week with only £55 interest charges.”

Back in December 2016, Newcastle loan shark John White received an 18-month suspended prison sentence after pleading guilty to illegal money lending and money laundering offences. Mr White was running an illegal money lending business from his home address in Newbiggin Hall.

Tony Quigley, Head of Service for the National Illegal Money Lending Team, said:

“We will continue to work closely with our partners to raise awareness with loan sharks. They can cause untold misery to the most disadvantaged in our communities. We would urge anyone with information about loan sharking or victims of loan sharks to contact the team on 0300 555 2222 or visit our website www.stoploansharks.uk.”

Nationally, Illegal Money Lending Teams have secured more than 370 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to nearly 318 years’ worth of custodial sentences. They have written off £71.9 million worth of illegal debt and helped over 26,500 people.

Due to the limited availability in the Kids Club, booking is required. Please call Leanne Risk on 0191 607 8216 to ensure you child gets a spot.

To report a loan shark:

Call the 24/7 confidential hotline 0300 555 2222

Text a report to 078600 22116

Visit the website www.stoploansharks.co.uk

E-mail reportaloanshark@stoploansharks.gov.uk  

Private message us on www.facebook.com/stoploansharksproject