Volunteers from a community group in Bury have accessed funding and training to help tackle loan sharks following a successful funding bid by Six Town Housing (STH).

Loan Sharks are illegal money lenders who offer quick cash to those in need, but charge cripplingly high rates of interest. These are often impossible to pay back, and those who cannot pay put themselves at risk of aggression, threats and even violence from the lenders.

The Tenant and Resident Association (TRA) on Topping Fold is now able to support people from across the borough who may be at risk from loan sharks, educating them on the dangers and signposting them to services that can help them further if needed.

STH - who manage 8,000 properties on behalf of Bury Council – connected the TRA with the Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT), who run free training sessions that can be accessed by community groups to tackle loan sharks. In addition, STH sourced funding through the IMLT to help the TRA promote and run drop-in sessions for local people offering loan shark advice.

Adam Greenhalgh, Business Manager at Six Town Housing said, “Loan Sharks can be found anywhere and if you use one, you are likely to end up in a far worse financial situation than when you started and face a real risk of being intimidated for payments. Volunteers at the TRA can now advise on how to identify them, report them and tap into the support available. If you need a short term loan, there are other reputable lenders - such as Manchester Credit Union - who you can turn to instead. You can find out more about the Credit Union at www.manchestercreditunion.co.uk."

Tony Quigley, Head of the England IMLT, said, “Illegal money lending is a despicable crime which causes nothing but harm to our communities. These lenders may appear to be offering a community service but borrowers are often forced to pay back far and above what they have borrowed and can afford. Many are subjected to threats, violence or other callous enforcement methods. We would urge anyone who has been the victim of a loan shark to report them in confidence on 0300 555 2222. Alternatively, please visit the website www.stoploansharks.uk for information on how our team can help.”


Volunteers join staff from Six Town Housing to show their disapproval of Glenda "Loan Shark" Lender.

EDIT This story was edited on 13/11/17. It previously mentioned that volunteers at Chesham Fold TRA had also received training, but the centre now has a new committee of volunteers who have not yet received this.

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