Struggling families in Corby facing Christmas on a tight budget have been warned about the dangers of loan sharks.
People were advised not to pay for the festivities by seeking a high interest loan at an event at Kingswood Neighbour Centre.
Families were given the warning by staff at the centre and representatives from the Citizens Advice Bureau.
Jordon White, 26, of Cameron Court, Corby, who has two children, two-year-old Reilly and Ronnie, 10 months, attended.
She said; “Families are struggling at the moment but I would never take up any offers from loan sharks, even though it might seem like a solution to the problem. It’s not.
“They simply prey on the poor and the information we have been given here today illustrates how important it is not to be tempted by what seems like a quick fix. I’ve never been approached but I wouldn’t consider a loan under any circumstances. It would just be a case of robbing Peter to pay Paul.”
Anita Tissavak, 29, who lives in the Kingswood estate and is a single mum, said: “The loan shark event has been a real eye-opener. People are struggling and at Christmas it’s even tougher for families. Parents want to do their best for their children and this makes them even more vulnerable.”
She said she would be keeping within her budget and would not be going into debt to finance Christmas.
Anita said: “You have to prioritise. My top priority is paying my bills and keeping a roof over our heads, and of course my child.
“I’ve learned to make do and to try to stretch my money, like a lot of other people. Getting into debt is not the answer and the loan shark event has been really useful to point out the dangers to people.”
Staff at Corby Citizens Advice Bureau, which runs sessions at Kingswood Neighbourhood Centre, expect to see a rise in calls for advice from people with financial problems during February and March.
A spokesman said: “If people fall foul of loan sharks and high interest loans it’s like a domino effect and they can end up with a whole range of problems, including issues with housing and benefits. They should seek help as soon as the problems arise.”