Stoke & Staffordshire

Newcastle-under-Lyme groups can bid for 'loan shark' money

Groups in Newcastle-under-Lyme are being offered the chance to bid for cash confiscated from loan sharks.

Community groups can bid for grants to improve their area and fund projects.

In total £3,000 is available which has been confiscated through work by the regional Illegal Money Lending Team.

Community groups, schools and charities who work to benefit people in the area are invited to pitch an idea that will raise awareness of "loan shark" dangers and promote financial good sense.

'So valuable'

In a similar scheme in Birmingham, Kitts Green Children's Day Nursery was given a grant of £429 to buy a "play shop" to teach children about spending and budgeting.

Deana Fitzpatrick, from the nursery, said: "Being able to buy brand new resources for the children was wonderful.

Image caption The play shop has been used for budgeting role-play

"We've been using the shop in the role-play area to teach them the basics and now even though they're under five some of them recognise amounts of money.

"We wouldn't have been able to do any of that without the grant."

The play equipment includes a till, scales, toy money and baskets and the nursery has held back a small amount of the grant to replenish the resource when necessary.

Ms Fitzpatrick said she would urge groups in Newcastle to bid for a grant.

Staffordshire County Council's cabinet member for communities Pat Corfield said: "This is a great initiative in that it is taking back money from criminals for communities and will help combat illegal money lenders in the future."

Applicants in Newcastle-under-Lyme have until 8 February to place bids.

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