SOME of the most vulnerable families in South Derbyshire who have fallen victim to loan sharks are to receive special support.
The England Illegal Money Lending team has joined forces with trading standards officers in Derbyshire and a host of other organisations in a bid to try and help people facing ‘severe financial hardships’.
While anyone can be a victim of a loan shark, the campaign in the area will focus on helping those affected by a range of issues such as mental and physical health, poverty or unemployment, to avoid loan sharks and to support them if they have already fallen victim.
Tony Quigley, head of the England Illegal Money Lending team, said “Our aim as a team is to make a difference locally.
“Whether a community is urban, inner city or rural we understand it will have its vulnerability issues and our aim is to tackle any current illegal money lending issues whilst sending a preventative message to ensure families don’t become more vulnerable to these loan sharks who extort and exploit their borrowers.
“We would urge anyone who has been the victim of a loan shark, or knows of someone who has to contact us in the strictest confidence on 0300 555 2222.
“Lines are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year and callers can remain anonymous if they wish.”
Research has shown that loan sharks will often target people who are on low incomes, as well as those who may, for various reasons, struggle to obtain credit from legitimate sources.
The campaign is aimed at reaching out to those who are most at risk, and showing them that there is support available.
The team is also working alongside Barnardos, Family Action, the Local Trust and other groups that support vulnerable families.
They will work with South Derbyshire District Council, housing associations, children’s centres, food banks and other organisations in the heart of communities to try and help people out and support them.