Throughout 2021 Digital Arts Box CIC worked with over 200 young people in Runcorn in schools and community spaces to raise awareness of loan sharks; illegal money lenders who prey on vulnerable people within communities for their own financial gain.
At our workshop sessions with young people at St Berteline’s, St Mary’s, St Augustine’s, Astmoor, Halton Lodge primary schools in Runcorn, along with Blue Rooms at Norton Priory, we familiarised everyone with loan sharks; how to spot the warning signs that someone close to you is borrowing money from an illegal money lender and what support is available for those whose lives are affected.
We then introduced digital pixel art into our sessions and invited every young person to create their own small piece of anti-loan shark art, which we then combined into a larger collage so that every centre we visited have their own floor-to-ceiling stained-glass window in the installation at the front of Norton Priory. The seven windows feature over 230 individual pieces of art created by local students and professional graphic artists. They represent seven types of loan shark, to shine a light on the fact anybody could be an illegal money-lender and to be aware of the signs.
Shortly after the stained glass window exhibit went up, there was a successful capture of a loan shark in Widnes. A brilliant victory for the Illegal Money Lending Team which you can read about here.
By educating young people about the dangers of loan sharks, it has allowed them to have important conversations with their parents and be vigilant in tackling this sort of crime; resulting in arrests like this one.
If you or anybody you know may have been affected by illegal money lending, you can safely report to the Illegal Money Lending Team by calling 0300 555 2222.
Take at look at a snapshot our unveiling event below:
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