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KIDSGROVE RESIDENTS WARNED ABOUT THE DANGERS OF LOAN SHARKS

The Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) are working with Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council to educate residents on safe borrowing and the dangers of using loan sharks.

Together with Staffordshire North & Stoke-on-Trent Citizens Advice, officers from the IMLT will be present on Miners’ Estate in Kidsgrove this week to deliver illegal money lending training to local tenants and debt advocates.

On Tuesday 7 and Wednesday 8 November, a representative from the IMLT will be speaking to local organisations and residents about the impact of loan sharks and how to spot the signs of illegal money lending.

Residents will be offered free benefit checks at the sessions to ensure they are receiving the money they are entitled to.

The training events form part of a wider financial inclusion project that Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council are delivering over the course of the coming months. The IMLT are commissioning the project using £1,500 of proceeds of crime money; cash that’s been confiscated from convicted loan sharks through the Proceeds of Crime Act (2002).

The aim of the project is to find financial inclusion champions in the community who will help spread the message about loan sharks and support struggling residents to access debt advice and safe credit.

The Illegal Money Lending training sessions will take place at the following locations:

Tuesday 7 November

Galley Centre, Whitehall Avenue, Kidsgrove

10am – 11.30am – Illegal money lending training for residents and agencies

11.45am – 1.45pm – Financial capability training for residents and agencies

Wednesday 8 November

Tesco Superstore, Liverpool Road, Kidsgrove, ST7 1DX

3pm – 5pm – Loan shark information stand and speaking to Tesco shoppers

5pm – 6.30pm – Illegal money lending training session for residents and agencies

Councillor Kyle Robinson, Butt Lane Councillor and Cabinet Member for Planning and Housing, said:

“I am so pleased that Newcastle Borough Council has been able to secure external funding for these awareness raising and training sessions in the Kidsgrove community. Loan sharks and illegal money lending practices exist in most communities and so the local council is working hard to make sure we do all we can to stamp it out.  I welcome positive partnership working with the Illegal Money Lending Team England and other local organisations to ensure our local residents are protected from criminals preying on vulnerable people.

Tony Quigley, Head of the England Illegal Money Lending Team, said:

“Loan sharks are unscrupulous criminals who prey on the most vulnerable in our society. We are pleased to be working with our partners to raise awareness of illegal money lending and the help and support that’s available to victims of this crime.

“If you or someone you know has borrowed from a loan shark, we urge you to get in touch on 0300 555 2222. We will take information anonymously and in confidence. For more information on how our team can help you, visit www.stoploansharks.uk.”

Nationally, Illegal Money Lending Teams have secured more than 380 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to nearly 328 years’ worth of custodial sentences. They have written off £72.5 million worth of illegal debt and helped over 27,000 people.

To report a loan shark:

Call the 24/7 confidential hotline 0300 555 2222

Text a report to 078600 22116

Visit the website www.stoploansharks.co.uk

E-mail reportaloanshark@stoploansharks.gov.uk  

Private message us on www.facebook.com/stoploansharksproject

Borough Council hears voice of people with Motor Neurone Disease

Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council has agreed to adopt the motor neurone disease (MND) Charter in support of local people living with this terminal disease and their carers.

MND is a fatal, rapidly progressing disease that can leave people locked in a failing body, unable to move, talk and eventually breathe. It kills around a third of people within a year of diagnosis, and more than half within two years. There is no cure.

Unfortunately, MND is still little understood and this contributes to many people with the disease not receiving the care and support they need. The MND Charter was launched to change this.

Councillor Kyle Robinson, who proposed the adoption, said “I am delighted our council has agreed to adopt the MND Charter. It is vital that more people are aware of the needs of people with MND so those living with this devastating disease can maximise their quality of life and die with dignity”.

Chris James, Director of External Affairs for the MND Association said “The importance of the MND Charter is undeniable. We want everyone to be clear that access to the right care, in the right place, at the right time, as set out in our Charter, can transform lives.”

For further information please visit www.mndassociation.org/mndcharter

Minor Ailment Scheme – Can it help your family locally?

In recent months many parents have contacted me to say that they sometimes struggle to get an appointment at the doctors either for themselves or for their kids. We all know that NHS services continue to be under pressure partly due to underfunding and a huge demand on services.

I was reading about the Minor Ailment Scheme or Minor Ailment Service and it could be a big help to families and elderly people if the service is used properly. As a local Councillor I am regularly given updates about our health service and I show a keen interest in local NHS services. However this was the first I had heard about such a scheme. The main aim is to encourage people not to visit the GP with minor ailments in the hope this will free up more appointments for people in serious need.

So now I know a bit more about the scheme I have taken the liberty of listing all the local pharmacies in Kidsgrove and the wider area that are signed up to the Minor Ailment Scheme. Please see the section below for local pharmacies.

So what is it and how can the scheme help you?

Minor Ailment Schemes exist in some parts of the UK. These schemes allow pharmacies to provide you with medicines for free on the NHS, as well as giving over the counter advice and support about how to care for minor conditions yourself.

The medicines covered by the scheme vary depending where in the UK you live, so you will need to talk to a pharmacy that signs up to the scheme in your local area.

Eligibility is quite clear. Anyone who doesn’t normally have to pay for prescriptions from their GP – for example because they are under 16, over 60 or on benefits is eligible for the scheme and will not need to pay for the medicine that the pharmacist suggests.

Which local pharmacies sign up to the scheme?

  • Lloyds Pharmacy – 42 Market Street, Kidsgrove, Stoke On Trent, ST7 4AB
  • Well Kidsgrove – Mount Road, Kidsgrove, Stoke-on-Trent, ST7 4AY
  • Well Goldenhill – Ann Street, Goldenhill, Stoke-on-Trent, ST6 5QJ
  • Well Talke – Freeport, Jamage Rd, Talke Pits, Stoke-on-Trent ST7 1QD
  • Packmoor – 1 Samuel Street, Packmoor, Stoke-on-Trent, ST7 4SR
  • Well Chesterton – 21-23 London Road, Chesterton, N-u-L, ST5 7EA
  • Boots and Asda stores with a pharmacy also sign up to the service.

Your pharmacy may be able to help with:

  • Colds
  • Coughs
  • Diarrhoea
  • Earache
  • Hay fever
  • Head lice
  • Nappy rash
  • Sore throat
  • Teething

There are a few things to remember regarding the Minor Ailment Scheme:

The minor ailment scheme is not a national scheme. It is not possible to say exactly which medical conditions are covered because this will vary depending on the location and the particular service.

The scheme is designed to offer medication to meet an acute need. It is not an opportunity for parents to stock up on free children’s medications. If a pharmacist thinks someone is abusing the system, they can refuse any request for treatment at their discretion.

The pharmacist has no obligation to provide branded medication such as Calpol. If there is a cheaper generic version available that is known to be equally effective, it is likely that will be provided instead.

(Some information obtained via http://www.nhs.uk)