Bournemouth Citizens Advice is playing an integral part in the campaign to stop the unlawful and damaging practice of loan- sharking.

As Christmas approaches turning to money lenders who have unscrupulous means of retrieving debt becomes ever more popular. Citizens Advice Bournemouth has teamed up with the ‘England Illegal Money making Team’ (IMLT) in Birmingham to tackle what has been described for recipients as being ‘A financial emergency that can have catastrophic effect.’

Cath Wolhers , Manager of England IMLT said: “Loan sharks are criminals and like any other criminal activity, this should be tackled. They have a detrimental impact on local communities and should never be used.”

She went on to say that there is no typical borrower and anyone can be a victim of loan sharks.

Help has been called for from support agencies like Citizens Advice Bournemouth and the general public to raise awareness of this serious issue. There is also a call for more education for the public in effective financial management, which is where Citizens Advice Bournemouth is trying to help.

In support of a solution there will be training available to community professionals during January to March 2017 so that they know what to say. At these training sessions there will also be information about the help and support available to those that are in water poverty and information about how Citizens Advice Bournemouth can help those that are struggling financially.

Causes for the widening reliance on loan sharks are said to be widespread but Cath Wohlers pointed out a recent survey which revealed that 40% of working age adults lack a savings buffer, with less than £100 in savings available at any one time. She said: “Many people in financial difficulties don’t know where to turn to for help, so they borrow money from a loan shark.”

England IMLT workers work with credit unions and partner agencies to signpost residents in the right direction for financial support.

If you are interested in attending the training please contact Citizens Advice Bournemouth on either admin@bournemouthcab.co.uk or speak to our reception on 01202 290967.