The criminal proceeds of loan sharks are being made available to community organisations and charities whose work tackles illegal money lending.
The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) is encouraging groups to apply for grants of up to £5,000 to fund projects in their local communities. Collaborative bids between multiple agencies and groups are also welcome.
Projects must raise awareness of the dangers of loan sharks, reduce crime and disorder and have a positive impact on communities.
Tony Quigley, head of the IMLT, said: “We encourage groups to come forward and apply for funding to help stamp out illegal money lenders.
“The money seized through the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) is reinvested back into communities through projects aimed at tackling loan sharks and supporting victims.
“We are very much aware of the devastating impact loan sharks have on families and communities and we’re determined to do all we can to eradicate them.
“Our financial investigators have continued to ensure that loan sharks don’t profit from their crimes and are not able to continue to operate during the coronavirus pandemic.”
The IMLT has spent £774,000 of proceeds of crime money on crime-fighting initiatives over the past three years. The money has been seized from convicted loan sharks and used to fund good causes nationally.
Projects have included graffiti murals, art therapy sessions for vulnerable adults and drama performances in schools highlighting the dangers of dealing with loan sharks.
The deadline for applications is Wednesday June 30, 2021.
For further information and to apply, visit www.stoploansharks.co.uk/poca-funding/