Funding for a new Rye service to help beat the loan sharks

A NEW service based at Tilling Green Community Centre will help people avoid falling foul of loan sharks.

Rye Town Council has awarded a grant of £816 to allow Hastings and Rother Credit Union to set up an outreach point at the community centre.

Credit Unions are financial co-operatives owned and controlled by local members.

They offer small loans, usually of up to £500 with much lower interests rates than the growing number of pay-day loan companies.

For example a loan of £500 paid back over 52 weeks would incur interest of £67.75, compared to £272 interest charged by a registered commercial lender.

Credit unions also offer more flexible re-payment terms and impose no fees for early repayment.

Cllr Jo Kirkham said: “I am all for supporting this. It has been working in Hastings extremely well and is helping people who cannot get help from anywhere else and end up using loan sharks in desperation.”

Deputy Mayor Cllr Bernardine Fiddimore said: “It is a great way of helping people avoid loan sharks,” while Cllr Granville Bantick said: “I think it would be of great benefit to the residents of Rye and I am all for it.”

Cllr Sam Souster commented; “There are more and more loan shops opening up in high streets and charging exorbitant rates of interest.”

Currently In the UK, over 400 Credit Unions provide financial services to over 400,000 members.

If you think you may have been the victim of a loan shark, you can report them in total confidence to the Stop the loan Sharks project on 0300 555 2222.

If you are having problems dealing with debt, you can get free advice from the Consumer Credit Counselling Service (CCCS) - the national debt help charity. Their free helpline is open from 8am to 8pmMonday to Friday 0800 138 1111.