A TOWN centre homeless shelter has received a grant worth thousands of pounds in order to protect its users from loan sharks.

James Lee House has received £3,800 from the England Illegal Money Lending Team in order to run a series of art therapy workshops highlighting the dangers of illegal money lending.

Members of the public are invited to the Stop Loan Sharks session at the Brick Street ‘lifehouse’ from 1pm to 3pm on Saturday, January 25.

Participants will create an ‘army of sharks’ from clay during the workshop, with the sculptures set to be put on display during an exhibition in Golden Square Shopping Centre next month.

Warrington Guardian:

Matthew Davenport, service manager at James Lee House, said: “The nature of our client group means that they are susceptible to loan sharks, especially after the Christmas period when their funds have been stretched and they experience a financial hangover in the new year.

“The idea behind the workshop is to promote responsible borrowing.

“Some of our residents have been involved in the criminal justice system prior to arriving at James Lee House and have been vulnerable in the past, having to deal with the many challenges that homelessness brings.

“We would like to leave behind a positive legacy by sharing advice where victims can go for support and how to report illegal money lending.

“The project sends out a strong message that loan sharks will not be tolerated in our community.”

Monies provided through the grant were previously seized from convicted loan sharks who were ordered to repay their ill-gotten gains.

Art therapy teacher Debbie Lyon, who will be running the workshops, added: “We strongly believe that this project will deliver an outstanding impact and send messages to not only our residents but to the local community in their own social circles who are potentially susceptible to this behaviour.

“This subject matter is something that our residents can completely engage with whilst others will have seen first-hand the tragic effects of illegal money lenders.”