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Guides take on loan sharks and win

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Talented youngsters from Tilehurst have received Government recognition in their ongoing battle against loan sharks.

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Members of the 5th Tilehurst Guides have scooped a national award for a campaign to raise awareness about Stop Loan Sharks, so that people don’t go and borrow money from dangerous Loan Sharks and learn about Payday Loan Companies as they may add very high interest on to the loan.

The Guides designed a badge – which comes with a booklet about savings, banking and places where money can be borrowed safely – that has been used nationally to educate young people and their families about effective budgeting and avoiding money lenders.

Chosen by an online public vote, the Guides are the national winners in the third annual Stop Loan Sharks Champions Awards. They have been invited to a Parliamentary reception today, where they will be presented with their award by Consumer Affairs Minister Jo Swinson, wo said of the result:

“These young women are rightly being commended for their innovative and determined efforts to prevent people becoming embroiled with loan sharks. It shows how Girlguiding is tackling modern issues and equipping girls with vital skills.”

Award organisers, the England Illegal Money Lending Team, commended the Guides for making “an exceptional impact in highlighting this crime and encouraging victims to come forward.”

The campaign takes the form of a badge that Rainbows, Brownies, Guides and Trefoil Guilds can earn when completing a booklet to do with money matters.

The badge helps teach them how to get more out of money and knowing what you need to know about money such as APR etc so that it helps people if they go for a loan.

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Congratulating the Guides, Cllr Paul Gittings, Lead Member for Culture, Sport and Consumer Services from Reading Borough Council, said: “Well done 5th Tilehurst Guides for devising such an original and wide-reaching way to warn young people and their families about the dangers of loan sharks.

“This national award is a remarkable achievement and recognises the time and effort the Guides have put into spreading the important message that illegal money lending damages people’s lives and their communities.”

Ellen Mitchell, 16, a Young Leader with the 5th Tilehurst Guides and one of the young women who led the project, said:

“We learned about the impact loan sharks were having in our area and we wanted to take action and raise awareness. As a Young Leader I helped a group of girls to come up with new ideas for the practical challenges in the resource. It really strengthened the bonds between us all and I’m really proud that we have created such a fun and useful badge. I loved every minute of it!”

Kim Jakubiszyn, the Leader of 5th Tilehurst Guides said:

“I have always been so incredibly proud of my small team of volunteers, our Guides and their achievements. For them to become award winners because they wanted to take action and make a difference not just in their community, but as far and wide as possible, is amazing.”

The 5th Tilehust Guides meet during term-time in St Michael’s Church Hall in Tilehurst.

For more on the campaign, visit the Guides website.

22/8/14 11:02 am: Updated with additional quotes

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