CASH seized from loan sharks is once again up for grabs in the latest round of funding from the Stop Loan Sharks Community Fund.
Community organisations, charities and groups are being encouraged to apply for grants of up to £5,000 from the England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT).
In order to qualify, projects must raise awareness of the dangers of loan sharks, reduce crime and disorder and have a positive impact on communities.
Projects previously funded have included graffiti murals, art therapy sessions for vulnerable adults and drama performances in schools highlighting the dangers of dealing with loan sharks.
The IMLT has spent more than three-quarters of a million pounds (£774,000) of proceeds of crime money on crime-fighting projects over the last three years.
The funding comes from money seized from convicted loan sharks under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA).
Tony Quigley, head of the England Illegal Money Lending Team said: “We encourage groups to come forward and apply for funding to help stamp out illegal money lenders.
“The money seized through the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) is reinvested back into communities through projects aimed at tackling loan sharks and supporting victims.
“We are very much aware of the devastating impact loan sharks have on families and communities and we’re determined to do all we can to eradicate them.
“Our financial investigators have continued to ensure that loan sharks don’t profit from their crimes and are not able to continue to operate during the coronavirus pandemic,” he added.
Anyone with information about illegal money lending can call 0300 555 2222 or access safe and confidential support via Live Chat on the IMLT website.
Visit www.stoploansharks.co.uk/groups-urged-to-bid-for-share-of-loan-sharks-confiscated-cash by June 30 for more about the grants.
Anyone who believes they might be the victim of a loan shark can contact the Stop Loan Sharks 24-hour confidential helpline on 0300 555 2222, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or complete an online report form at www.stoploansharks.co.uk.