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FSYTA Launch National Partnership with Illegal Money Lending Team 22/05/2014

A proceeds of crime funded scheme to educate children and young people about the dangers of loan sharks and help them to manage their money wisely, is being rolled out to Fire Cadets across the UK.

The England Illegal Money Lending Team is working with the Fire Services Youth Training Association (FSYTA) on their National Fire Cadets Scheme, which provides engagement opportunities for young people aged between 13 and 18. During the courses, the young people are not only taught operational skills utilised in the Fire and Rescue Service, but also valuable life skills such as leadership, teamwork, problem solving and communication which will prepare young people for adult life. A key part of this section of delivery will be financial education as youngsters are given a greater understanding of the impact of illegal money lending, to help them avoid loan sharks in later life.

The England Illegal Money Lending Team commissioned WA partnerships, a leading financial education consultancy, to create the colourful, interactive resources which have been uploaded on the FSYTA website for any unit across the UK to use.

The resources are already being used in schools, colleges and youth groups across the country with more than 4000 requests for print copies since they were launched in March.

They were funded with cash confiscated from convicted illegal money lenders under proceeds of crime legislation and have been awarded the pfeg (Personal Finance Education Group) quality mark. There are tailored activities aimed at 5-19 year olds which encourage young people to think about their needs and wants, develop an understanding of credit, and sensitively look at the issues of loan sharks.

To download or request a pack visit http://www.birmingham.gov.uk/stoploansharks

Lord Toby Harris Chair of the National Trading Standards Board said ‘These resources are designed to help children develop an understanding of money management and prevent them from falling victim to loan sharks. The sooner we can educate these young consumers about the pitfalls of loan sharks, the more likely they are to make solid financial decisions.’

John Cartwright, Chair of the Fire Services Youth Training Association said ‘We are extremely happy to be working with the Illegal Money Lending Team to provide our Cadets with appropriate information on money management and the dangers associated to illegal money lending. National Fire Cadets is designed to not only engage young people in operational firefighting activities, but also to provide vital life skills to prepare young people for adult life. We feel that money management is a key skill that all young people should acquire, and we are glad to be able to offer suitable education as part of our programme of delivery.”

Tony Quigley Head of the England Illegal Money Lending Team said “Money management is a vital part of education, and it is important we develop an understanding of the dangers of loan sharks with our youngsters. Not only will this help to send a preventive message, when children reach adult life but it is hoped that they will also share what they have learnt with their families, so they know where to turn if they have been a victim of this crime.

Juliet Wells from WA partnership said: “We are delighted to have been able to work with the IMLT to produce such a worthwhile and appealing range of materials.  These resources will help future generations make the most of their money and keep them from the clutches of loan sharks.”

Nationally the Illegal Money Lending Teams have secured 310 prosecutions leading to nearly 200 years worth of custodial sentences. They have written off £55 million worth of illegal debt and helped nearly 24,000 victims.

To report a loan shark:

Call the 24/7 confidential hotline 0300 555 2222

Text ‘loan shark + your message’ to 60003

E-mail reportaloanshark@stoploansharks.gov.uk

Private message us on www.facebook.com/stoploansharksproject