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Southport charity receives award for tacking illegal money lenders

Migrant Workers Sefton Community received a highly commended award yesterday (21st March) for their 2016 project which warned migrant workers living in Sefton of the dangers of borrowing from loan sharks.  

The charity worked with The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT), Multimedia Company Handstead Films and Sefton Neighbourhood Team to produce a short film to demonstrate the perils of getting involved with an illegal money lender and to promote the help and support available to loan shark victims through the IMLT.

The title for the film ‘Stop Loan Leeches’ came about after the charity found that the term ‘loan shark’ did not translate well in to Eastern European languages.

In order to get the message across to migrant workers, the short film was translated in to six different languages: English, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, Romanian and Russian.

Migrant Workers Sefton Community help mitigate the financial hardship among migrant workers and their dependents living in Sefton and the surrounding area.

In 2016, The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) delivered training to volunteers from the charity on how to support migrant workers borrowing cash from loan sharks. Volunteers were taught on how to spot a loan shark and how to signpost victims to the appropriate help and support available.

As a result of actively working with the IMLT to raise awareness of loan sharks, Migrant Workers Sefton Community effectively reached over 900 direct clients and over 2000 in-direct client family members.

The project was funded by Sefton Council with support from the IMLT.

Cllr. Trish Hardy, Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing in Sefton, said:

“In Sefton we have always extended a warm welcome to migrants who choose to call our borough home and enrich it through their contribution to community life.

“Unfortunately, they often face real hardship, in particular managing their finances, meaning it can be all too tempting to seek out illegal money lenders, which inevitably makes their situation worse.

“It is heartening to see a service working closely with Sefton Council, take the fight to illegal lenders by educating migrants to make different and better choices – this award is richly deserved.

“It should also be noted that it is not only migrants in Sefton who are confronted by the dilemma posed by illegal lenders – it can happen to anyone. If you are worried about your finances or are considering illegal lenders, help is available from Sefton Council and our partners.”

 

Eileen Saunders, Co-founder of Migrant Workers Sefton Community said:

“We are delighted to have been recognised for our work in trying to stamp out illegal money lending. Loan sharks prey on the most disadvantaged members of our local communities, including European migrants. We hope our ‘Stop Loan Leeches’ video sends out a direct message that loan sharks will not be tolerated in Sefton and that there is help and support available to victims so they don’t have to suffer in silence.”

 

Tony Quigley, Head of Service for the England Illegal Money Lending Team said:

“Well done to all our winners and ‘highly commended’ runners up in the National Champions Awards 2016. You have all contributed to making a difference and tackling this crime in your community.

“Loan sharks are a scourge on society and cause harm and misery to their victims. If you or someone you know has been a victim of a loan shark, we urge you to get in touch with IMLT on 0300 555 2222. You call will be handled by a trained officer and all information will be treated in the strictest confidence.”

Nationally, Illegal Money Lending Teams have secured more than 370 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to nearly 318 years’ worth of custodial sentences. They have written off £71.9 million worth of illegal debt and helped over 26,500 people.

 

To report a loan shark:

Call the 24/7 confidential hotline 0300 555 2222

Text a report to 078600 22116

Visit the website www.stoploansharks.co.uk

E-mail reportaloanshark@stoploansharks.gov.uk  

Private message us on www.facebook.com/stoploansharksproject

Funding secured to support victims of domestic abuse

A multi-agency funding bid has secured just over £300,000 of funding to support victims of domestic abuse. The funding from the Department for Communities and Local Government was submitted on behalf of Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton and Wirral Councils and their respective Community Safety Partnerships to support victims of domestic abuse in a number of ways. Firstly it will help to support victims of domestic abuse by providing them with accommodation, suitable to individual needs, across the four local authority areas. In addition, an enhanced and extended therapeutic support offer will be provided to  children who have witnessed or experienced domestic abuse to improve their mental health and wellbeing. The funding will also support an extended sanctuary offer, enabling more victims of domestic abuse to remain in their own homes safely, through the installation of appropriate safety measures such as locks and external lighting, whilst also extending the use of the IT system across Merseyside to co-ordinate allocation and record demand for specialist accommodation. The total funding secured is £301,160 and this will support 37 units available for supported, dispersed accommodation, 180 children will benefit from therapeutic support and a minimum of 150 households will benefit from the sanctuary fund.  

Cllr Eddie Connor, Knowsley Council’s Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, said “We know that domestic abuse happens, and can have a profound effect on victims as well as children who may witness incidents.  That’s why we have teamed up with our neighbouring authorities to tackle the issue over a wider geographical area to provide support and solutions that will have a real impact on those who are suffering from it.  This funding will help us to offer targeted support to victims, helping them to rebuild their lives.” Cllr Emily Spurrell, Mayoral Lead for Community Safety, Liverpool City Council, said “We are particularly delighted that this funding will not only increase the number of units of accommodation across the region but allow us to adopt a housing led approach whilst meeting the needs of groups that we have previously struggled to help. We will also, for the first time, be able to provide therapeutic support to children affected by domestic abuse”. Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member Communities and Housing, added: “Any funding to help tackle domestic abuse is welcomed. Domestic abuse is never acceptable and should not be a hidden issue in our communities. We need to create an environment where domestic abuse is understood better and accepted less and hopefully this money will help achieve this more across the region.” Cllr George Davies, Wirral Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing and Community Safety, said “Domestic abuse is a devastating crime that all too often remains hidden. In recognition of this, Wirral Council has pledged to treat domestic abuse with zero tolerance, which also means ensuring that victims are able to access appropriate housing, where they can feel safe and supported during times of crisis. I am therefore very pleased that this award of funding will enable Wirral, alongside our neighbouring councils, to adopt a housing-led approach to addressing the accommodation and support requirements of people fleeing domestic abuse, thereby enabling victims to rebuild their lives”

New Liverpool City Region Adoption Agency launched

A Regional Adoption Agency covering Liverpool, Knowsley, Sefton and Wirral is set to be established. New Adoption Agency launched for Liverpool City Region

It follows a successful bid to the Government last year by local authorities on Merseyside to create a new organisation to get more children placed successfully as quickly as possible.

The new agency – set to be launched in January 2018 – will bring together a team of around 50 staff from across the four councils who will be seconded into the new organisation on their existing terms and conditions.

Responsibilities will include recruitment, approval and ongoing support for adopters, tracking, linking and matching of children and the training and development of staff.

Although the Regional Adoption Agency will have a centralised hub, staff will continue to have a presence in each of their local authority areas to ensure they retain close links with social work staff.

Every year, the four local authorities approve around 100 adopters each year and place approximately 140 children for adoption.

John Joseph Kelly, Cabinet Member for Children, Schools and Safeguarding at Sefton Council, said:

“In Sefton, we are currently looking for adoptive families for 16 local children and young people. We know that we often receive enquiries from across the Liverpool City Region, so it makes sense that we are collaborating with our neighbours to meet the challenges we face together and increase the potential for our vulnerable children to find a forever family.

“I’m looking forward to this new regional adoption agency making the process for would be adopters quicker and more effective as both they and children in Sefton and the wider region are matched so they begin their new family life.”

 

Consultation has already taken place with staff and trade unions, and adopters are also being kept informed.

Reports recommending the approval of the Regional Adoption Agency will be considered by each council’s Cabinet over the coming weeks, with Wirral Council the first to do so on Monday 27 March.

Crosby Village

Further improvement works in Crosby village are planned in the coming months. The next phase of environmental work is due to be completed by summer 2017 and will include replacement bins and benches, tidying of redundant street clutter and signage. The works have been funded through developer contributions from McCarthy + Stone and agreed through ward councillors in Crosby. On March 8, Sefton Council’s Planning Committee granted planning permission for the refurbishment of the 1930s Glenn Buildings on Moor Lane Crosby, including the replacement of the shop fronts. The scheme, submitted by St. Modwen, will see the creation of more flexible spaces on the ground floor and the refurbishment of the first floors. The existing retail unit next door will be demolished and redeveloped across two floors.

Cllr Marion Atkinson, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Skills, said: “We believe the agreed application will provide a significant investment within Crosby village and also lets everyone know that Sefton is open for business. “The approval will begin to deliver the vision of the Crosby Investment Strategy, as well as linking into the Vision for Sefton 2030. We will continue to work closely with potential investors to the town and the wider borough to bring the Vision to life.” “Linked to the environmental works people will begin to see improvements to the appearance and character of the village centre.” David Nuttall, Development Manager at St. Modwen, said: “Our plans for Crosby were given a welcome boost this month when our planning application to refurbish the Glenn Buildings South and construct a new unit at 10 Moor Lane was approved. “We are committed to Crosby and our plans will provide accommodation suitable for modern retailers, whilst maintaining the look and feel of the traditional high street. “We are delighted to have received considerable positive feedback from residents and retailers, and we hope to move forward with these works as soon as is practical.”

Other environmental improvement works completed to date in Crosby include: • New tree planting and removal of older trees • New power points for lighting • Street lighting – new lanterns and repainting columns • Relocation of CCTV camera • Installation of festoon lighting • Repaving central circle area • New Christmas lights

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