Cash confiscated from illegal money lenders is being offered to community groups in Milton Keynes.
The initiative has been organised by The England Illegal Money Lending Team in partnership with MK Council, Safer MK, Your MK and MK Community Bank.
The ‘Your Choice’ scheme will give residents a say in how money taken from loan sharks is spent to improve their community.
Loan sharks often trap borrowers into spiralling debt through exorbitant rates of interest and arbitary extra charges.
When people are unable to pay many firms resort to bully tactics including intimidation, threats or violence.
This scheme aims to see the money made by the loan sharks used wisely to benefit key areas.
The SaferMK Partnership have also boosted the pot, adding £1000 to the Your Choice fund to help as many community projects as possible, which help tackle illegal money lending.
“Loan sharks are illegal lenders who often target low income and desperate families,” said Colin Wilderspin, head of SaferMK for MK Council.
“They may seem friendly at first but borrowing from them is never a good idea,” he said.
“Through raising awareness in the communities of Milton Keynes, we hope to increase knowledge and understanding of the troubles individuals have using a loan shark and prevent our residents becoming a victim.”
Local residents, charities, community and voluntary groups, schools and statutory agencies benefiting those that live in Milton Keynes are welcome to apply for the cash, to spend on any worthwhile community project that does one of the following:
> Contributes to raising awareness of the dangers of using ‘loan sharks’
> Promotes professional credit options to people at risk of using ‘loan sharks’
> Promotes financial management or budgeting to people at risk of using ‘loan sharks’
> Reduces crime, disorder and illegal money lending in the local area
Applicants can apply for a maximum of £700 per project idea, and applications need to be in by Friday, November 18, 2016.
For an application form email Catherine.firstname.lastname@example.org