In 2022, a report found that just over 1 million people in England could be in debt to a loan shark or, as they are officially known, an illegal money lender.
Many people don’t realise they have been forced down a pathway of spiralling debt until it is too late. They often feel embarrassed and ashamed that they have been tricked into taking out illegal loans and are unable to find a way out of the situation they have found themselves in.
To tackle this problem, we have been visiting colleges and community groups to teach people about Loan Sharks. We work to make these sessions as interesting as possible to engage our audience. We do this by acting out a script/scenario where ‘Glenda the Lender’ tricks a person into being their friend, offers them money and then demands much more money back.
One of our attendees commented: “I feel I have benefitted from it a little bit considering I had never heard of “Loan Sharks” before and that was interesting to talk about.”
We involve our audience by asking questions and discussing what happened. Loan Sharks tend to target their victims by becoming their friend and building up trust before ‘lending’ them money. In our sessions, we spend time talking about what makes a good friend and how you can stay safe from people who are pretending to be one.
Following our sessions, we have received some lovely feedback:
“That was really good. The students were engaged throughout.
“The resources were excellent. Our students have difficulty with literacy so having pictures and tick boxes really helped.”
‘The Loan Shark presentation I felt was very informative, easy to follow and visual with some humour which was good …. they (the members) enjoyed the presentation and understood the main message …. it was important information that they had learnt’
Sam Boseley, who is part of the team carrying out these sessions, commented: “Everyone has really enjoyed taking part in these sessions. It’s clear, from the engagement in the groups and the questionnaires we carried out, that everyone knows more about staying safe from loan sharks.”