Community groups in Doncaster can bid for cash which has been confiscated from loan sharks.
The ‘Your Choice’ scheme is part of an initiative organised by the England Illegal Money Lending Team and Doncaster Council to give residents a say in how money taken from crooked lenders is spent to improve their community.
The specialist team who investigate and prosecute loan sharks have put forward £3,000 of proceeds of crime money to fund as many projects as possible.
Loan sharks often trap borrowers into spiralling debt through exorbitant rates of interest and arbitrary extra charges. When people are unable to pay, many will resort to bully tactics such as intimidation, threats or violence.
The scheme aims to see the money these loan sharks made used wisely, to benefit key areas.
Local residents, charities, community and voluntary groups, schools and statutory agencies benefiting those that live in Doncaster are welcome to apply for the cash, to spend on any worthwhile community project which does one of the following:
n Contributes to raising the awareness of the dangers of using loan sharks
n Promotes professional credit options to people at risk of using loan sharks
n Promotes financial management or budgeting to people at risk of using loan sharks
n Reduces crime, disorder and illegal money lending in the area.
Applicants have until Friday, March 7, to place their bids up to a maximum of £750. Groups can submit more than one project idea.
The public will then be given the chance to vote online and in person for which projects will be awarded the cash. The winners will be announced towards the end of March, as part of a local campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of loan sharks.
Coun Joe Blackham, Cabinet Member for Trading Standards, said: “Never be tempted to borrow from a loan shark. These unscrupulous lenders take advantage of the most vulnerable people with unpleasant consequences when they are unable to pay.
“We are encouraging the public to use the money to raise awareness of the perils of using these lenders and to promote responsible sources of credit within their community.”
For an application form contact email@example.com or call 07500 809 339.