Aspire Housing’s Housing Services Team is celebrating this week after receiving a national award for its work to stop loan sharks. | Aspire life

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Aspire Housing’s Housing Services Team is celebrating this week after receiving a national award for its work to stop loan sharks.

Aspire Housing’s Housing Services Team is celebrating this week after receiving a national award for its work to stop loan sharks.

The national Stop Loan Sharks Awards, hosted by the Illegal Money Lending Team, recognise organisations that help the fight against loan sharks and commend those who have made a real difference in communities by highlighting this crime.

Paul Malkin, Aspire Housing’s Income Collection & Generation Manager comments, “We are thrilled to be awarded this national award, which recognises our efforts in our communities to help put a stop to loan sharks by promoting the options and services of the IMLT.

Paul continues, “It’s a great honour to be one of just three organisations that have been recognised nationally, and we look forward to continuing our work with the IMLT across Staffordshire and Cheshire to combat loan sharks in our region.”

Tony Quigley, Head of the England Illegal Money Lending Team comments, “We are delighted to present Aspire Housing with this award for their excellent continued work to ensure the local community turn away from loan sharks.

“We received some fantastic entries from organisations across the North West who are all making a real difference in communities to help us stamp out this horrendous crime. We’d urge anyone who has been the victim of a loan shark to call us in confidence on 0300 555 2222 or contact us through the website www.stoploansharks.uk.

Some of the work Aspire Housing managed over the last year included hosting 13 neighbourhood events throughout different areas in the Borough, where attendees were encouraged to share information they had on loan sharks, leaflets promoting the services of IMLT services to stop loan sharks were dropped at local schools to go into the children’s bags to be taken home, and Aspire Housing’s neighbourhood teams also arranged local litter picks when children helped to hand out leaflets.

In total throughout the year more than 1,250 questionnaires were completed by people in our communities, over 2,500 leaflets delivered, and more than 300 posters put up.

Loan sharks operate illegally, without the correct permissions from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). These criminals usually appear friendly at first but quickly trap their borrowers into spiralling debt. As the debts can’t legally be enforced, many lenders will resort to the most extreme and callous methods to enforce repayment including threats, violence and intimidation.

If you or someone you know have been the victim of a loan shark, please contact the IMLT on 0300 555 2222 or visit the website www.stoploansharks.uk.

For more information on Aspire Housing’s Money Advice Team please visit our Money Advice page or call 01782 635200.

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