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Failsworth transport firm helps in fight against loan sharks

A locally-based community transport company is getting on board with the fight against loan sharks, helping to raising awareness and displaying flyers on its fleet of vehicles.

AFJ Ltd, which provides home to school and patient transport services, is working in partnership with the England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) to warn passengers and other residents about the dangers of loan sharks.

The company, which has depots in Failsworth and also in Nechells, Birmingham, provides community transport across the Greater Birmingham and North West regions.

Employees of the firm took part in a door-to-door leaflet campaign warning residents to avoid borrowing from loan sharks and promoting safer legal alternatives.

The company’s drivers, passenger assistants and ambulance care assistants also handed leaflets to those using the buses and ambulances and will continue in the coming weeks.

A static vinyl also features on the outside of the company’s vehicles to spread awareness on the loan shark issue.

Pooja Sharma, AFJ’s head of business development, said: “In a significant step towards eradicating illegal money lending practices, AFJ Limited is proud to announce its partnership with Stop Loan Sharks.

“I am thrilled to be part of this collaboration, aimed at fostering financial wellbeing and protecting individuals from the harmful impact of illegal loan activities.

“Our shared commitment to ethical lending practices aligns seamlessly with Stop Loan Sharks’ mission to educate and empower communities against the threats posed by loan sharks.

“Together, we will work tirelessly to raise awareness about the risks associated with illegal money lending and provide support to those who may have fallen victim to such practices.”

Tony Quigley, head of the IMLT, said: “Having a company like AFJ working with us to raise awareness like this is fantastic.

“These flyers will be seen by hundreds of passengers as well as other road users and will help spread our message far and wide that illegal lending will not be tolerated.

“Illegal lenders make life a misery for the most vulnerable in society.

“We are here to stop them and our specialist officers are on hand 24 hours a day to support borrowers.

“We are so grateful to the team at AFJ for their commitment to helping us tackle the scourge of illegal lending and protect our communities.”

Pooja added: “Our collective goal is to create a community where individuals can access fair and transparent financial services without the fear of exploitation.

“As we embark on this journey with Stop Loan Sharks, we encourage individuals and communities to be vigilant and report any instances of illegal money lending.

“Together, we can build a stronger and more resilient society that is informed, protected, and empowered.”

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Illegal Money Lending Team, also known as Stop Loan Sharks.

Since 2004, the IMLT has supported over 31,500 people and written off over £91.2 million worth of illegal debt, securing over 416 prosecutions for illegal money lending, leading to 598 years in jail.

Anyone who has been affected by illegal money lending should call the Stop Loan Sharks 24/7 Helpline on 0300 555 2222 or access support online at: www.stoploansharks.co.uk

Live Chat is available on the website from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

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BUSINESSES CHANGING LIVES THROUGH CSR

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is the moral compass guiding modern businesses. CSR is more than a trend; it’s a commitment to making a positive impact. CSR emphasizes that companies aren’t isolated entities; they’re intertwined with society. Companies embracing CSR understand that success isn’t solely measured by profits but also by the contributions they make to society. Beyond profit-making, these companies prioritize making a positive impact on society and the environment. They believe in doing well by doing good, fostering a culture of responsibility and empathy. For entities like AFJ, CSR serves as a compass, directing their efforts towards meaningful engagement and community betterment.

WHY IS CSR IMPORTANT?

At its core, CSR represents a commitment to ethical practices, social consciousness, and sustainable development. Companies embracing CSR recognize their role as key stakeholders in societal progress. They acknowledge their influence on societal and environmental factors. They make sure to do things ethically. It’s not just about making their brand look good; it’s also about helping communities and the environment. They take responsibility for their actions to leave a positive mark and build trust among everyone involved.

IS CSR AN ADDITIONAL EXPENSE FOR ORGANISATIONS?

CSR isn’t just about giving; it’s also about gaining. As people increasingly value social and environmental efforts, CSR becomes a powerful asset for companies. It’s not an expense—it’s an investment that brings returns. By prioritizing CSR, companies enhance their reputation, attract loyal customers, engage motivated employees, and draw in investors. It’s a strategy that benefits everyone involved and produces a Win- Win scenario for all parties, making it a smart move for all organisations to actively engage in and let all the stakeholders (organisation, society and environment) benefit from CSR initiatives.

1) CLEANERGREENER STREETS:
REVIVING NECHELLS BIRMINGHAM

AFJ partnered with Birmingham City Council’s CleanerGreenerStreets   Campaign to clean up Nechells Birmingham. Over 50 AFJ volunteers joined forces along with the councillor of Nechells, collecting 51 bags of debris. The volunteers who dedicated their time didn’t just collect bags of trash; they connected with locals,   sparking conversations about the importance of a cleaner environment and distributed leaflets to generate awareness about the same.

Snapshot of Event:

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2) STOPLOANSHARKS CAMPAIGN:
SHIELDING COMMUNITIES FROM ILLEGAL MONEY LENDING

Illegal money lending has been an ongoing problem throughout UK and the outcomes are often life threatening. Statistics states that over 3 million people in Great Britain may have borrowed from an illegal moneylender in the last three years according to new research by IPSOS for Fair4All Finance.

AFJ has collaborated with England’s Illegal Money Lending Team(IMLT) and have had internal trainings around StopLoanSharks campaign to educate our resources on the same. However, this is just the first step towards a greater cause. With the educated and informed resources, AFJ has started making the people across Greater Birmingham and Greater Manchester aware of the issue and providing them measures, support and guidance on how to come out of it. These events are empowering sessions, equipping individuals with knowledge to recognize and evade predatory lending practices. AFJ plans on eradicating this problem to the maximum extent possible by it’s continuous efforts with the England’s IMLT. The vinyl posters on AFJ buses, the leaflets that every AFJ drivers and assistants hand over to the people is a step forward towards spreading awareness and letting any possible victim step out of these traps in a guided way.

3) PARTNERING WITH NECHELLS ATHLETICS: INVESTING IN YOUTH DEVELOPMENT

AFJ proudly sponsored Nechells Athletics’ football shirts and training kits, displaying a commitment beyond sport. Beyond merely sponsoring sports gear, AFJ’s partnership with Nechells Athletics aimed to nurture young talent and provide opportunities for growth. This partnership aims to provide local teams and young individuals with a positive focus, fostering a sense of belonging and building brighter futures. This collaboration didn’t just support sports; it fostered leadership, teamwork, and a sense of community among local youth.

Snapshot of Event: www.facebook.com/afjtravel/posts/pfbi d0xUomz7jEyW72xx6avKxLzzyiJNoD8mGL MsGyZkhfhoBWw8g8hm8aGYXRsxc114Hnl

4) HEALTH ADVOCACY:
RAISING AWARENESS ABOUT DIABETES

AFJ collaborated with doctors to carry out campaigns across the UK, educating citizens about diabetes and ways to manage it effectively, highlighting AFJ’s dedication to public health. AFJ’s collaboration with healthcare experts in spreading awareness about diabetes wasn’t just a health campaign. It is about empowering individuals to take charge of their health, fostering healthier lifestyles, and creating a more informed and resilient community.

CHAMPIONING CSR:
OTHER COMPANIES MAKING A DIFFERENCE

Remember Patagonia? They make outdoor gear and care a lot about the environment. They’ve given a lot of money to environmental causes.

TOMS Shoes is another one. For every pair of shoes they sell, they give a pair to someone who needs them. It’s their way of helping.

And then there’s Unilever. They make a lot of everyday stuff. They try to make these things without hurting the planet too much.

Consider the social and environmental initiatives of IKEA, a furniture giant committed to sustainability.Their renewable energy investments and efforts to reduce waste showcase a dedication to a greener future.

Microsoft’s commitment to accessibility and diversity, coupled with substantial philanthropic contributions through their Microsoft Philanthropies,highlights their.

Coca-Cola’s  initiatives in water stewardship and community development reflect a commitment to responsible corporate citizenship focusing on societal challenges beyond their products.

AFJ’s collaboration with healthcare experts in spreading awareness about diabetes wasn’t just a health campaign. It is about empowering individuals to take charge of their health, fostering healthier lifestyles, and creating a more informed and resilient community.

CONCLUSION: EMBRACING CSR FOR A BETTER TOMORROW

Corporate Social Responsibility isn’t just a tagline for responsible business; it’s a roadmap to a sustainable future. Companies like AFJ, Patagonia, TOMS Shoes, Unilever, IKEA, Microsoft, and Coca-Cola showcase that success isn’t just about profit margins; it’s about purpose-driven actions.

By engaging in CSR initiatives that prioritize community welfare, environmental sustainability, and ethical practices, these companies set an inspiring precedent. They demonstrate that businesses can be a catalyst for positive change, leveraging their influence and resources for the greater good.

AFJ’s commitment to fostering a cleaner environment, protecting communities, nurturing talent, and promoting health awareness showcases the transformative power of dedicated CSR efforts. Their journey signifies that business success intertwined with social responsibility isn’t just achievable—it’s imperative for a better, brighter tomorrow.

As more companies embrace CSR, each step forward isn’t just progress for business; it’s a collective stride towards a more equitable, inclusive, and sustainable world.

Afj’s impactful journey: making a difference, together

Afj’s commitment to CSR extends far beyond superficial engagement; it’s a deep-rooted commitment to making tangible, lasting changes. Each initiative the organization undertakes signifies a step towards a more inclusive, healthier, and empowered community.