A new storybook, that aims to warn children about the dangers of loan sharks has been launched at a primary school in Birmingham and at Balsall Heath Library.
Pupils at Heath Mount Primary School in Balsall Heath were paid a surprise visit by England’s Illegal Money Lending Team mascot Sid the Shark and met the authors of the book, ‘Amsty Meets Mr Loan Shark’, which aims to warn them about the pitfalls of unscrupulous lenders online. it was great to see the campaign and book also featured on all ITV news channels.
The book – aimed primarily at children aged 5-11 years – sees the return of Amsty, an old wise computer who lives in the library. Together with old and new friends, Amsty is on a mission to help families learn about the dangers of loan sharks and where to seek help. The story is a sequel to ‘Amsty Gets Online’, published in October 2020.
The 31-page beautifully illustrated storybook, written by local authors, Hafsha Dadabhai-Shaikh and Salim Shaikh from the Get Families Talking project, run by Smartlyte will be available to borrow from all libraries across the city.
The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) are leading the fight against loan sharks and supporting victims and communities affected by this crime.
Hafsha Dadabhai-Shaikh, from Get Families Talking and co-author of the Amsty storybooks said: “Amsty has proved to be a massive hit with the children and his story is helping to educate families about the perils of loan sharks. .”
Councillor Jayne Francis, Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Culture at Birmingham City Council said: This new book is a brilliant way to get children engaged in the serious subject of loan sharks and will better prepare them for adulthood. It is also hoped that the young people will carry the message home and encourage parents who may be in difficulties to seek help.
Anyone with concerns about illegal money lending can contact the Stop Loan Sharks 24 Hour Helpline in confidence on 0300 555 2222 or access support online at www.stoploansharks.co.uk. Live Chat is available on the website between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.