A campaign is being launched in Middleton and Belle Isle to encourage local residents, family and friends to report loan shark activity in their area.
The campaign, which is being led by the Leeds South East Debt Forum, aims to get people talking about loan sharks, break the taboo and encourage people to seek help. The campaign is being supported by ward members for Middleton Park Ward: Councillors Blake, Truswell and Groves and has the backing of the Inner South Community Committee.
Members of the Debt Forum have linked with the Yorkshire and Humber Illegal Money Lending Team and the campaign coincides with the launch of the team’s revamped website which offers confidential help and advice online. To support the promotion of the website there will be a leaflet drop in the area and frontline staff, who work in Middleton and Belle Isle, have been given information to support clients to access the website.
Anyone who has been offered a loan without paperwork, been threatened when they could not pay, had a benefit or bank card taken away or had a loan which keeps growing despite making payments, may have been dealing with a loan shark. It is hoped that by encouraging the community to report loan sharks it will help stop the activity in the area.
Confidential support can be found at stoploansharks.co.uk, where a free call back can be requested, by calling 0300 555 222 (10p from a landline, may be up to 55p per minute from a mobile) or by texting 07860 022116 (normal text cost).
For further information on the campaign, email the Communities Team South East at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone (0113) 378 5808. Alternatively search for South East Debt Forum on Facebook.
Help on debt and finance is also available at the St George’s Community Hub in Middleton. You can get help here from Welfare Rights, Citizens Advice, Leeds Credit Union and Money Buddies.
The hub is open Monday to Friday 8:30am-4pm.