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Ipswich: Visitors to the Big Multicultural Festival in Alexandra Park on August 31 will be asked how they think money seized from loan sharks should be spent

PUBLISHED: 10:40 18 August 2014

Last year's Multicultural Festival

Last year's Multicultural Festival

Archant

Visitors to the Big Multicultural Festival in Ipswich at the end of the month will get a chance to say where money taken from illegal moneylenders should be spent.

Seven local projects have the opportunity to bid for up to £1,000 each to help them get the message across that people should avoid using loan sharks.

They will each have a display at the borough council stand and visitors will be able to vote for which is most worthy of getting the help.

Up to six will get the help thanks to £4,000 seized from loan sharks by the England Illegal Money Lending Team, part of the national Trading Standards organisation. This has been topped up by a further £2,000 from Suffolk County Council.

The seven groups bidding for support include Easter Savings and Loans credit union, charities working with minority ethnic groups, and those working with young people to teach them how to budget effectively.

Andrew Reid, from the county council, said: “The Proceeds of Crime Act is a piece of legislation which helps tackle criminals by hitting them where it hurts – by taking away not only their money, but also items such as their car or even their house.

“I am pleased community groups are able to bid for this money and that the funds are going to where it is needed, with residents deciding what they would like the money used for.”

Ipswich mayor Bill Quinton said: “Ipswich Borough Council recognises the threat that loan sharks pose to the local community and continues to support counter initiatives that raise awareness of the risks of dealing with illegal money lenders. This competition will help allow local groups to work with the community to reduce risk and improve money skills, and put illegally gained money back into the community in a positive way.”

It has been confirmed two acclaimed British Asian artists will be at the festival on August 31. RAXSTAR and TaZzZ will perform live at the event in Alexandra Park, where there will also be music and dance from countries including Britain, Bangladesh, Poland, India, China, and South Africa.

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