Supporting free legal advice Grants round announcement

The Access to Justice Foundation is pleased to announce its most recent grants round. The Foundation was set up in 2008 by the legal profession and is solely focused on funding and supporting access to justice. The Foundation gives grants for the provision of free legal advice and representation to vulnerable people who could not otherwise afford it.

This recent grants round was made possible through the generous support of donations from a range of sources. These include individuals supporting us through walks, pro bono costs, unclaimed client accounts, and other donations from law firms such as Stewarts Law who have pledge to give a fantastic £1,250,000 over the next 5 years to support free legal advice.

The Access to Justice Foundation would like to say thank you to everyone that supports the Foundation allowing us to make the difference to thousands of vulnerable people. All this support, including Stewarts Law’s significant contributions, show how the legal community can make a huge impact for access to justice.

The following organisations have been awarded support through the autumn 2019 regional grants round. All grants are unrestricted and are to support grantees increase their reach:

Citizens Advice Barnet – Offers free, impartial and specialist legal advice to those who live or work in the London Borough of Barnet across a range of legal specialisms.

They will use this grant to boost staff capacity, increasing provisions for welfare benefits, immigration and employment specialist advisers and solicitors. They will also improve organisational reliance through specialist training in welfare benefits, immigration and employment law.

The You Trust – Provides a range of specialist advice and holistic services.

They will use their grant to develop specialist debt, housing and welfare benefits advice within the social prescribing team in Portsmouth and also work with local domestic abuse services to provide specialist advice to women in refuges.

Suffolk Law Centre – Aims to empower the people of Suffolk to understand and assert their legal rights.

They will use the funding to develop a mobile specialist triage advice service to reach rural communities not currently able to access legal advices services.

Citizens Advice Devon – A consortium of seven local Citizens Advice covering the county of Devon.

They will use the funding to create a new Legal Advice Project Worker post. The funding will also help them pursue plans to strengthen their internal capacity to deliver specialist legal advice. This includes developing next steps for the establishment of a new law centre and a team of legal apprentices and developing a training programme.

Citizens Advice Central Dorset and Dorset Race Equality Council – Aims to provide advice on any topic to anyone. They have specialist advisers in the areas of Welfare Benefits, Debt and Employment.

They will use their funding in partnership to improve the availability of specialist discrimination advice and employment advice across the county of Dorset, including improving access into rural communities through video conferencing and the development of pro bono initiatives.

Speakeasy Law Centre – Provides specialist legal advice to lift people out of poverty in Cardiff and surrounding areas.

The funding will support senior staff costs in order to develop services across Wales, to include strategic and operational partnership to benefit people across the country, particularly in the advice deserts of mid, north and west Wales. This will be achieved through looking at the role technology could play and establishing and developing relationships with other providers across Wales (including non-advice organisations) to help understand what people need.

Citizens Advice Mid-North Yorkshire – Provides legal advice and support to people living in Hambleton, Richmondshire, Ryedale, and Selby & District on their rights and responsibilities.

Their funding will cover a new role of Specialist Case Worker who can provide people with legal advice, information and representation. It will also allow them to deliver support from local offices and outreach locations e.g. food banks, community centres and local libraries, and use our Rural Reach Advice Bus. They will also make full use of technology to support people over the phone, via email and video conferencing.

Just Right Scotland – Scotland’s legal centre for justice and human rights.

Their funding will be used to build and pilot a law clinic programme, with the University of Edinburgh Free Legal Advice Clinic (FLAC), to leverage pro bono support from law students and immigration solicitors. The clinic will increase case working resource to help vulnerable EU citizens obtain evidence and make applications under the EU Settlement Scheme.

Fife Law Centre – Provides specialised legal advice and representation in cases of ‘unmet legal need’.

Their funding will support the provision of legal advice and representation for Criminal Injuries Compensation Claims (CICA), working in conjunction with the Fife Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre (FRASAC) where the unmet legal need is clear. Referrals are on a pro bono basis as no legal aid is available for CICA claims.

Scottish Child Law Centre – Provides free expert legal advice and information on Scots Law relating to vulnerable children and young people.

They will use this support to renew their current IT facility, which is used by a growing number of much needed volunteers. A major outcome from the funding will be the ability to utilise a faster and more robust technical element to their work. Enhancing the speed of assistance to those many thousands they assist on an annual basis resulting in an increased capacity in advice coverage.

There were many more worthy grants applications that we did not have the funds to support. If you would like to find out how you can also support the Access to Justice Foundation please feel free to contact greghodder@atjf.org.uk or call 020 7092 3973 or visit: www.accesstojusticefoundation.org.uk

By Lord Goldsmith PC, QC, Chairman of the Board (former HM Attorney General)

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