Milton Keynes City Council has partnered with charities SOFEA and the Illegal Money Lending Team to warn people about the dangers of using illegal loan sharks.
Colleagues from the City Council and Thames Valley Police have been visiting SOFEA’s community larders this week to speak with residents about the risks involved in taking money from unscrupulous lenders who prey on vulnerable people. Loan sharks target people in need of help and trap them into a cycle of debt and threats of violence.
Figures show that almost one in ten people turned to loan sharks to cover the costs of Christmas last year.
Earlier this month, MK City Council announced that it has given £20,000 to SOFEA to support struggling families during the cost-of-living crisis through its community larder project.
Community larders serve as local neighbourhood clubs which require a subscription. The aim of the larders is to save waste and gives people access to cheaper food, a chance to meet neighbours and access services to support with the cost-of-living. The City Council’s donation means that the community larders will be able to stock an additional 14 tonnes of surplus food, providing the equivalent of 2,300 family-size weekly shops. People using SOFEA’s community larder don’t need to be means tested or on specific benefits.
If you suspect someone may be a loan shark or they are acting inappropriately, you can report them anonymously to www.stoploansharks.co.uk or by calling the Stop Loan Sharks Helpline on 0300 555 2222.
As the cost of living rises, many people are struggling to find the extra money for essentials. Help is available. It’s best to ask for help early before you get far into debt. Follow these tips and find contact details for the council at www.milton-keynes.gov.uk/cost-living-support.
“We know that loan sharks are using this festive period and the cost-of-living crisis to prey on vulnerable people. No one under any circumstances should turn to these cowardly criminals for money. There is help out there and we’re doing everything we can to support people that needs it the most.” - Cabinet Member for Adults, Healthy Communities and Housing, Cllr Emily Darlington