Local groups are encouraged to bid for cash, which has been confiscated from illegal money lenders, as part of an initiative organised by the England Illegal Money Lending Team and Doncaster Council.
The ‘Your Choice’ scheme will give residents a say in how money taken from loan sharks 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.
The scheme aims to see the money these loan sharks made, used wisely, to benefit key areas.
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.”
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:
• Contributes to raising the 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 have until Friday, March 7 to place their bids.
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 in the week commencing Monday 24 March 2014, as part of a local campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of loan sharks.
Tony Quigley Head of the England Illegal Money Lending Team said “Illegal money lenders are a scourge on our communities, and can have a hugely detrimental impact on the lives of their victims. Through schemes such as this, we are able to use this money for something positive and help to prevent these criminals from operating in the future. We would always urge victims of illegal money lenders to seek help by contacting us in confidence on 0300 555 2222”
To ensure that a number of projects can be funded groups can apply for up to a maximum of £750 per project idea.
Groups can submit more than one project idea, but the total must not exceed £1,500.