Residents are being warned to steer clear of loan sharks as part of a festive awareness campaign backed by Incommunities.
The district’s biggest housing landlord is teaming up with the England Illegal Money Lending Team, Bradford District Credit Union and Citizens Advice to support four community-based events.
During Christmas events at Keighley, Shipley, North and South Bradford, teams will be on hand to give advice on the dangers of turning to loan sharks, as well as run competitions and stalls.
Local graffiti artist Martin Haighurst will work with children at each event to create large murals spelling out the loan shark hotline number – 0300 555 2222. There will also be a colouring competition to highlight to youngsters the dangers of borrowing and importance of saving.
The awareness sessions will take place on:-
Saturday, 10th December (10am – 2pm) – Windhill Community Centre, Church St, Shipley
Monday, 12th December (3pm – 6pm) – Gateway Centre, Thackeray Road, Ravenscliffe
Thursday, 15th December (10am to 3pm) – Hainworth Wood Community Centre, Keighley
Saturday, 17th December (1pm – 4pm) – Sandale Community Hub, Reevy Road West, Buttershaw
Each session is being funded with the proceeds of crime money taken from convicted loan sharks.
Adrienne Reid, Assistant Chief Executive, Neighbourhoods said: “At this time of year there is a real temptation for some people to look for loans to tide them over, but often this only makes things worse and can lead to long term problems.
“We are delighted to be linking up with our community partners, the England Illegal Money Lending Team, Citizens Advice and Bradford District Credit Union, to run these awareness sessions and send out a strong message that loan sharks have no place in our communities.
“We want to engage with families and show everyone that there is help available, such as calling the England Illegal Money Lending Team hotline.
“A much better alternative to pay day lenders is to join Bradford District Credit Union, who are regulated by the Financial Services Authority, and provide responsible lending and saving facilities. Over 800 Incommunities tenants are now members. To find out more why not contact them on 01274 431000?”
Tony Quigley, Head of Service for the England Illegal Money Lending Team added: “Cash confiscated from convicted loan sharks is being put to great use, this project demonstrates how local communities are working with the England Illegal Money Lending Team to combat this horrific crime.
Loan sharks are a scourge on society and cause harm and misery to their victims, but we are continuing to tackle them in Bradford and across the country. We would always urge victims of illegal money lenders to seek help by contacting us in confidence on 0300 555 2222.”