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Telecom artwork raises awareness of loan shark dangers in South West Gainsborough

Memoriat with Poppies

Gainsborough residents may have noticed the sudden arrival of some new artwork appearing on local telecom boxes, warning of the dangers posed by loan sharks.

The designs were inspired by ideas and drawings by local school children, young people from Connexions and LEAP residents, and brought to life by Lincoln artist Mia Monroe and 40 volunteers.

This Community Art Project was the idea of local Social Housing Charity, Lincolnshire Employment Accommodation Project (LEAP). It was funded by the Stop Loan Sharks Team and match-funded by West Lindsey District Council.

Business Development Manager at LEAP, Heidi De Wolf, who was responsible for putting it all together, said: “We also had a positive response from both Virgin Media and BT Open Reach who gave permission for us to use their boxes as canvasses for the colourful designs.”

Heidi Walton, CEO at LEAP, added: “We have been taken aback by all the volunteers who have supported the project and all the positive responses from the local community. It just shows how much a project like this was needed in the area.”

The project has an important message as it aims to raise awareness of so-called loan sharks*, prevent local residents from falling victim to scrupulous money lenders and reminds residents to ask for support when they feel concerned about their finances or have worries about losing their home.

*A loan shark is typically described as a moneylender who charges extremely high rates of interest, typically under illegal conditions.

Cllr Judy Rainsforth, Councillor for Gainsborough South-West Ward and member of the Grants Committee at the Council, said: “Schemes such as these are creative, fun and essential. We can always see in hindsight the importance of being wary of loan sharks, but now local residents and visitors are reminded on a regular basis by beautiful pieces of art. This is a brilliant initiative, and I am proud that the Council could be involved to support this.”

“The artwork on display here in the area is absolutely fantastic. This has been such a creative project and I am delighted that so many local residents and groups came out to help raise awareness of such an important issue and get involved in such a fun scheme.”

“A family-friendly walking map has also been created for families to answer a quiz whilst discovering all the different patterns in the area. I encourage all those, especially with young children, to come visit and have a look at all the displays for themselves!”

To access support – the Stop Loan Sharks line is always available – the number is 0300 555 222.

To learn more about LEAP’s work and keep up-to-date with further opportunities to take part in community projects, visit the LEAP Website and follow the HATS Community Hub Facebook Page.

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