Members of the Growing Together projects, run by local mental health and wellbeing charity Trust Links, have produced a range of creative displays to raise awareness of Loan Sharks.
Members made mosaics, a collage, bird box and tree with warning messages, to remind them and others of the risks of borrowing money from illegal money lenders.
The creative pieces will be exhibited at the Growing Together community gardens in Westcliff, Shoeburyness, Thundersley and Rochford as a reminder to be aware of Loan Sharks and to report loan sharks to the England Illegal Money Lending Team.
Trust Links Carers will also leave ‘Love on the Rocks’ stones when they go on carers’ walks with loan sharks messages on them, which can be found by people searching for these painted stones.
Trish Carpenter, CEO of Southend Citizens Advice, visited Trust Links to judge the exhibition. Trish said "the displays were visually stunning; they create a talking point and were a great way to spread the message about loan sharks and get other people involved. It can be very dangerous to get involved with loan sharks, so the more people that know about it, the better.”
Gareth Evans, Growing Together Manager at Trust Links, said, "Members really enjoyed making these creative displays, which will be used on our Growing Together sites to remind people of the dangers of loan sharks. Growing Together provides specialist support and therapeutic gardening for adults with mental health problems, who may be vulnerable to illegal money lenders, so this project was a great way of highlighting the risks of loan sharks in a fun and creative way.”
Tony Quigley, head of the England Illegal Money Lending Team, said, "We would like to thank the talented members at Trust Links for creating these imaginative displays. They will serve as a constant reminder of the dangers of using loan sharks and the help and support available to victims.
"Illegal lenders not only rip people off with extortionate rates of interest but resort to the most despicable methods to enforce their debts. We urge anyone who has been affected by illegal money lending to call us in confidence on 0300 555 2222. Your call will be handled by a trained officer and all information will be treated in the strictest confidence.”
Nationally, Illegal Money Lending Teams have secured more than 382 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to nearly 329 years’ worth of custodial sentences. They have written off £73.7 million worth of illegal debt and helped nearly 28,000 people.
Gareth Evans, Trish Carpenter and Trust Links members
displaying their creative loan sharks exhibits