The Women's Organisation joined the England Illegal Money Lending Team last week to support their 'Stop Loan Sharking' campaign at primary schools in Kirkby. The week long programme of events was aimed at children and adults alike to help them to find out more about the dangers of illegal money lenders.
An estimated 310,000 households nationally borrow from loan sharks who operate illegally, often charging extortionate rates of interest, and resorting to violence or intimidation to enforce repayment.
Representatives from the Team joined by the local credit union, Knowsley Mutual, attended assemblies at Westvale School and Ravenscroft School, to speak about the dangers to 260 children. Knowsley Trading Standards also sponsored 30 children’s credit union accounts, using money taken from illegal lenders. The School Gates Employment Support Initiative and North Kirkby Children’s Centres facilitated coffee mornings for parents at both schools, to give them a chance to chat with representatives from the IMLT and other organisation’s such as The Women's Organisation picking up some invaluable advice.
The week long campaign Culminated on Friday 20th May with an enterprise day hosted at Westvale Primary School by The Women’s Organisation. Children were asked to come up with a marketing campaign to encourage local residents to use the credit union, and avoid illegal money lenders. The campaigns were judged by representatives from Radio City, the IMLT, Knowsley Council and the credit union.
Bernie Cox, training manager at The Women's Organisation said
"The day was a great success. It was such a brilliant opportunity to not only raise awareness of this important campaign, but to get these budding young entrepreneurs thinking about enterprise. It was a delight to work with Westvale and their enthusiastic students."
Some of the comments from the students included:
"Thank you for making our day fantastic!"
"I have enjoyed today. It was fun"
"I would love to do this again"
"I enjoyed making a business and also being part of a team"
"I think that today was brill. Bernie and Jo were very kind."
"I enjoyed working as a team"
"It has been fantastic. I want to do it again"
"I enjoyed all the activities that took place today and I feel more confident working with others"
"I liked working as project manager, everyone got involved. Our team won, but everyone is a winner"
"It was an amazing day and I loved it. I wish there was more days like this"
"It was cool"
To report a loan shark:
Call the 24/7 confidential hotline 0300 555 2222
Text ‘loan shark + your message’ to 60003
Log-on to www.direct.gov.uk/stoploansharks
For more information on The Women's Organisation and the enterprise support we can offer to women in Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton and Stockport visit www.thewomensorganisation.org.uk