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£3,000 prize for Telford primary school in loan sharks competition

By Dominic Robertson | Telford | School events | Published:

Pupils at a Telford primary school have won a national award of £3,000 in a competition aimed at warning them about the dangers of loan sharks.

Pupils were joined celebrating by, from left to right, Rachel Gillett (deputy head), Cath Williams (IMLT LIAISE manager), Karen Farrow (chief officer Just Credit Union), Stephen Reynolds and Councillor Jackie Loveridge.

At a surprise assembly, Cath Williams of the anti-loan shark Illegal Money Lending Team informed the Holmer Lake Primary School youngsters that ‘loads and loads’ of projects had been nominated for a national award from across the country - and that their school had won.

It was a ‘big shock,’ said one of the Telford school's pupils.

The award to the school was in conjunction with Just Credit Union, Shropshire’s not-for-profit community bank, as a result of a joint project aimed at raising awareness of loan sharks.

The project has been on-going at the school for the last 12 months and as a result of the award Just Credit Union will open an account for each of the 270 children who will receive £5.

In addition, the children have been asked to suggest how the balance of the money should be spent and this is likely to include making videos on the importance of money and saving.

Holmer Lake deputy headteacher Rachel Gillett said: “We are thrilled to have received national recognition for our loan shark project. The children were so receptive to the theme and used their creativity to help spread the message.

“There is significant evidence that our pupils now have a greater understanding of debt, savings and interest, which can only support them with financial literacy in the future.”

Tony Quigley, head of the England Illegal Money Lending Team, said: “Holmer Lake School and Just Credit Union have shown real commitment to highlighting the issue of illegal money lending to their community.

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“It is very important that young people learn about managing their finances – the better educated they are in this area the less they are likely to become victims of loan sharks later in life.

“I urge anyone who has fallen victim to this crime not to suffer in silence, but contact the team for help and support.”

Mayor, Councillor Stephen Reynolds, said: “I would like to congratulate the staff and pupils at Holmer Lake Primary School on being named national champions at the Stop Loan Sharks Awards – this is a great achievement, not just for the school, but the whole borough.”

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