A couple want to “explode” £1 million worth of local pay day loan debt and wipe the slate clean for as many residents as possible.

Artists and entrepreneurs Hilary Powell and Daniel Edelstyn run the Hoe Street Central Bank in Walthamstow and are buying up local pay day loan debt cheaply with a plan to erase it next month.

When debt is sold on the market, it is sold for a fraction of its actual value. Normally, people who buy up debt then chase individuals for repayment and make a profit when the debt is repaid in full.

But in the Hoe Street Central Bank’s case, the plan is not to make profit, but instead to get rid of the debt entirely. They plan to get in touch with those concerned to let them know they are no longer in debt and help local people out of their financial difficulties.

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The Hoe Street Central Bank is in Walthamstow.

As part of the initiative the couple are creating and selling artwork; part of the proceeds are donated directly to local causes, including a homeless shelter, a food bank and a primary school, and the rest is pumped into buying up local debt.

Ms Powell said: “I think what we’re doing isn’t radical, it’s common sense. We want something that’s fairer and this is an artistic response to a massive prevailing narrative that pushes people into debt.”

Their artwork looks like printed money and buying a £5 Walthamstow note represents a £5 donation to the scheme.

Full sets of £5, £10, £20, £50, £100 and even £1000 notes can be bought and the scheme has had interest from museums across the country, as well as individual buyers.

The duo have also produced a ‘How To’ guide that people across the country have purchased to allow them to set up their own versions of the scheme.

So far, the pair and their team have raised £20,000 of their £50,000 target, which they will use to buy up £1 million worth of pay day loan debt on the markets with a deadline of June 23.

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The team produces artwork that, when sold, contributes to funding targets.

Waltham Forest Council is also supportive of the scheme and invested £6,500 at its opening.

Ms Powell said: “Waltham Forest Council were the first to believe in it and whilst they’re not supporting us financially any more, they are really supportive. They are shouting about us.”

Those who have accumulated pay day loan debts can find themselves caught in a vicious cycle with high interest rates and difficult repayment schedules.

Ms Powell added: “We’re trying to pierce the narrative of austerity through community action and tactile activity and in the process bringing people together.”

She added: “If you waited around for other people’s permission and money, you would end up not doing anything.”

Mr Edelstyn is also producing a feature length film about the project in a bid to change the “prevailing narrative.”

To buy notes and contribute to the scheme, click here