Mahdlo Oldham Youth Zone and First Choice Homes Oldham have joined together with Stop Loan Sharks to increase awareness around loan sharks in the build up to Christmas.
Staff, volunteers and young leaders will attend a one day ‘Young People & Money’ training programme as part of the project, with the aim of developing and delivering financial capability sessions to young people across Oldham.
The training will be delivered by Developing Youth Practice (DYP), nationally renowned experts in youth training and financial capability. It will equip participants with concepts and techniques to explore attitudes and behaviours towards money with young people, while financial habits are still forming, and support the transition to supported and independent living where appropriate.
In addition to the training, the first week of December will see Mahdlo, First Choice Homes, Positive Steps, Oldham Council, and others, take part in a Stop Loan Sharks Awareness Week, with activities including arts based sessions at Mahdlo, a social media campaign, and a very special visit from Sid the Shark.
The awareness week will be targeted at those most vulnerable to loan sharks as the festive period gets underway and all activities will be aimed at signposting victims to sources of support, as well as highlighting the dangers of getting involved with loan sharks.
Kathryn Bardsley, Training & Quality Standards Coordinator at Mahdlo Youth Zone said: “We are delighted to be partnering with First Choice Homes and Developing Youth Practice on this incredibly important project.
“We are putting a serious focus on getting our young leaders trained up in financial capability so that they, as well as our staff and volunteers, can carry what they learn through the project into their communities and further protect young people from the pitfalls of loan sharks and beyond.”
Bev Bertenshaw, Community Impact Manager at First Choice Homes Oldham, said: “At First Choice Homes Oldham, we want to ensure we are doing all we can to protect our communities from the risk of becoming the victims of loan sharks. Loan sharks are known to target vulnerable people in desperate circumstances – particularly in the run up to Christmas – causing misery and often resorting to threats of intimidation or violence.
“We are working incredibly hard to combat poverty in our communities and to equip our staff with the skills they need to support customers experiencing such issues, but also to help customers to understand the dangers of falling prey to these criminals and instead, accessing other safer and more appropriate solutions.”