Tackling Loan Sharks as Part of HOPE2018

Chatham High Street became the unlikely scene of a shark attack earlier this month.

Caroline Clarke, Community Engagement and Social Responsibility Advisor for the Diocese, was joined by Sid the Loan Shark and other local civic, community and Trading Standards representatives to handout leaflets raising awareness of the dangers of borrowing money from loan sharks and to give details of ethical banking via Credit Unions.

Church-goer Doug Rosen, aged 19, who volunteered to be ‘Sid’ for the event said:
"I think it’s good that the church has identified the problem here and is bringing other agencies together to combat the threat."

The leaflet drop was organised in partnership with the Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) – a specialist unit that investigates and prosecutes loan sharks. According to the IMLT, more than 310,000 households in the UK are currently using illegal money lenders, who destroy lives and can push victims to suicide due to the extreme misery, fear and violence they cause.

It came ahead of a Charter signing at the end February which saw Bishop James pledge to support a commitment to ‘Zero Tolerance to Loan Sharks’. Representatives from across the Diocese joined him in committing to Stop Loan Sharks preying on local communities and included the including civic dignitaries, Kent Police, Council Leaders and Councillors, local Credit Unions, CAP Centres, Trading Standards, Citizen’s Advice Bureaus, Community Wardens, and the school ‘good finance’ project LifeSavers.  

People are driven to borrow money from loan sharks for a variety of reasons and so as part of the Diocese’s pledge, Stop the Loan Shark resources are being made available  to churches through the diocesan website, social media, and by offering to facilitate talks and workshops from the Illegal Money Lending team.

Caroline Clarke explained how the campaign against Loan Sharks forms part of the Diocese’s wider HOPE 2018 initiative:
“Our awareness raising on this particular issue is part of our year-long drive of activity across the Church locally called #Hope2018. This campaign is about ‘setting captives free’ from social issues such as addiction, modern slavery and debt."

Through a series of workshops, training and events, HOPE 2018 is seeking to help churches be more confident in supporting those affected by debt, isolation, addiction and modern slavery. Caroline continued:

“I really want to encourage everyone across our churches to explore the HOPE 2018 pages of the diocesan website, to sign up to the free workshops, and to take this opportunity to find out more about some of the pressing issues facing society today and how we can be part of the solution. Loving our neighbour also involves being concerned about the things which they are concerned about, and becoming part of the solution as we demonstrate our understanding of God’s love, through Word and Action.”

For more details about Hope 2018 and to book onto one of the many sessions available visit: www.rochester.anglican.org/mission/hope-2018/
 

To report a loan shark:
Call the 24/7 confidential hotline 0300 555 2222
Text a report to 078600 22116
Visit the website
www.stoploansharks.co.uk
E-mail reportaloanshark@stoploansharks.gov.uk  
Private message us on www.facebook.com/stoploansharksproject

 




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