Lancashire Times
A Voice of the North
2:38 AM 21st October 2020

Anti-poverty Group Led By Bradford Credit Union Launches Spooky Campaign To Fight Loan Sharks

In a bid to tackle the rising issue of illegal money lenders in Bradford and the wider district, the Anti-Poverty Events Group - led by Bradford District Credit Union - has launched a new Halloween-themed campaign #LoanSharksAreMonsters.

The group - which was recently shortlisted for the council’s prestigious Partnership award - is a collection of eight organisations working together to tackle poverty and financial exclusion. It's #LoanSharksAreMonsters project comes amongst rising numbers of such illegal lenders looking to take advantage of vulnerable people during the COVID-19 lockdowns and the lead up to Christmas.
The Anti-Poverty Events Group is a partnership of eight organisations

It's #LoanSharksAreMonsters campaign launched on International Credit Union Day

10,000 campaign activity packs have been distributed to vulnerable families across the Bradford district

The group decided to tackle the dangers of loan sharks, scams and gambling in a creative and accessible way, producing a special monster-themed edition of its ‘Bundles of Creativity’ publication. The project has been realised thanks to funding from Brelms Trust CIO, Bradford Council and the National Lottery Community Fund. Artworks Creative Communities have been designing and distributing thousands of booklets every month since May through Food Banks, community groups, schools and partner organisations in APEG.

Deb Collett from Artworks explained: “Covid-19 and lockdown has brought increased stress, uncertainty, poverty and isolation to many. We wanted to reach out to families who are digitally excluded and struggling the most, hence involving APEG, Bradford District Credit Union and over 100 community groups spread throughout the entire Bradford District.

“With 10,000 copies sent out, we are really pleased the #LoanSharksAreMonsters edition has proved so popular – it’s a winning formula of creative fun and vital information”

Ian Brewer, Financial Inclusion Officer for Bradford Credit Union, commented: “Loan sharks prey on vulnerable people who need financial help and this manipulative form of lending is often followed by intimidation and threats. Unfortunately, this is something we’re seeing more and more in the area, only recently a loan shark was arrested in Keighley for illegal money lending. Moreover, the Government’s Illegal Money Lending Team has suggested that the problem is only getting worse during the pandemic.

“All of this just emphasises the importance of this campaign, our community partnerships and the work of credit unions across the country to provide the right support and options for those who need it most. As such, this working partnership has been essential in driving innovative projects to reach the most financially vulnerable.”

Loan sharks and illegal lenders are just one of the issues that the Anti-Poverty Events Group in Bradford tackles through their unique partnership. In the last year they have created ground-breaking projects that reached over 2000 people through conferences, workshops and road shows around the Bradford District. Group leader, Bradford District Credit Union, has also just reached 8,000 members, over doubling in size in the last five years.

The credit union has helped thousands get into the savings habit whilst also offering low cost loans to residents from all walks of life. It also recommends that those who want to report a loan shark, should call 24-hour confidential helpline 0300 555 2222, or visit