Who and how we help
Here listed are the organisations we have awarded the Community Justice Fund Grant across the East, supporting their vital work in providing access to justice for all.
Harlow Advice Centre
Grant Awarded: £39, 190
Harlow Advice Centre provides end-to-end casework plus tribunal and court representation on welfare benefits, housing and debt issues. It is the only legal aid provider in these areas covering large parts of Essex and Hertfordshire. They employ four specialist advisers including: a full-time housing solicitor; welfare benefits supervisor; welfare benefits adviser and debt supervisor. The grant will help the service respond to the changes resulting from Covid-19 and bridge the gap between legal aid income dropping and cases building up again. The grant will allow the Centre to improve IT equipment and fund training as well as additional specialist adviser and administrative support to respond to the inevitable increase in demand.
Citizens Advice West Suffolk
Grant Awarded: £20, 000
Citizens Advice West Suffolk provides free, independent advice across five locations in West Suffolk, with trained advisers taking on specialist casework principally in housing, benefits, employment and debt. Flexible funding would help grow resources to meet the increasing demand in casework and appeals by recruiting more specialist caseworkers in employment and housing who can also coordinate appeals, and supervisors to manage increased numbers of client calls (replacing face-to-face services).
Peterborough Asylum and Refugee Community Association
Grant Awarded: £20, 000
Peterborough Asylum and Refugee Community Association works to improve and enrich the lives of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants residing in and around Greater Peterborough. They offer free specialist immigration advice to EU citizens and support and advice to other migrant groups in the local area and are working to expand their services in immigration and asylum. A flexible grant from the Community Justice Fund would increase their capacity to support vulnerable EU citizens with their applications for settled status by increasing the hours of their EUSS advisors. In addition to increasing the staff capacity for providing immigration advice, the grant would cover the cost of telephone interpreters to aid remote appointments with clients.
Norfolk Community Law Service
Grant Awarded: £75, 000
Norfolk Community Law Service works to identify unmet legal need in Norfolk and to work with partner agencies to provide free service to meet that need. A team of committed volunteers aim to provide access to justice and equality and target services at disadvantaged and vulnerable groups, e.g. offenders, migrant workers and people with mental health issues. The grant will be used to cover currently unfunded staff costs; a small staff increase to cope with increased demand; and anticipated increased telephone, IT and other COVID-19 related costs to support new ways of working.
Great Yarmouth Refugee and Outreach Support
Grant Awarded: £20, 000
Location: Great Yarmouth
Great Yarmouth Refugee and Outreach Support (GYROS) is a Level 1 & Level 2 OISC accredited organisation providing multilingual immigration advice and immigration-informed welfare advice and support for migrant communities across Norfolk and Suffolk. They also offer specialist social welfare legal advice and an end to end multilingual and culturally informed service to clients who access our service via a drop-in or appointment only service. They are the only Level 2 OISC advice service offering free advice to migrant communities in the geographical areas in which they work. This grant will enable the service to keep the doors open as well as training more staff to be Level 2 OISC accredited to deal with the increase in demand for their services.
Luton Law Centre
Grant Awarded: £4, 200
Luton Law Centre is a not-for-profit legal practice which gives professional, confidential legal advice and assistance. They share legal expertise to help people get the support they are entitled to, make sure everyone has access to justice or get redress for unfair or wrong decisions. With support from the Community Justice Grant the Law Centre staff will be able to continue to provide telephone advice and telephone appointments on Community Care, Housing and Immigration (including EU Settled Status) and Asylum issues.
Luton Rights Centre
Grant Awarded: £25, 000
Luton Rights is a well-established charity which has been providing SQM quality marked social welfare law advice in welfare, debt, housing, employment & family mediation. The charity currently works in partnership with Citizens Advice Luton, Luton Law Centre to provide a co-ordination advice service across Luton. The flexible grant will enable Luton Rights to provide additional advice capacity over the next few months, as people return to work, face redundancy and other significant changes to life as the current lock down is gradually lifted and they see a significant increase in the number of people in need of their services. The grant will replace what has been lost from the funding cut, but also enable Luton Rights to increase the capacity in all three areas of law.
Luton Irish Forum
Grant Awarded: £29, 966
Luton Irish Forum (LIF) supports the Irish community in Luton to reach their full potential by providing welfare, social, cultural and volunteering opportunities. LIF has delivered specialist social welfare legal advice since 2004. Case work is highly complex as they deal with multiple issues for their client group which has a high representation of BME communities including Irish Travellers, people and mental and physical disability and low literacy levels. The Community Justice Fund Grant will create a safe space for face to face appointments by adapting their offices to ensure vulnerable groups can still be seen, as well as increase capacity to respond to a projected increase in demand of their services.
Suffolk Law Centre
Grant Awarded: £5, 400
Suffolk Law Centre provides legal services to help the diverse communities of Suffolk to gain equal access to justice, to challenge disadvantage and inequality, and to understand their legal rights, obligations and protections. The grant will help to improve the access to specialist casework and representation in social welfare law (notably in the areas of public, housing and asylum) in Suffolk. It will also continue to work of the centre in improving the level of knowledge about rights amongst Suffolk residents while working with local businesses and public bodies to improve the commitment in public institutions in Suffolk to recognise people’s rights and to be held to account.
Grant Awarded: £93, 846
IPSEA – Independent Provider of Special Education Advice – offers free and independent legally based information, advice and support to help get the right education for children and young people with all kinds of special educational needs and disabilities. The grant will help IPSEA maintain the necessary infrastructure and staff in their legal and volunteer teams to support volunteers to continue providing free and independent telephone advice and Tribunal support to the families of children/young people with special educational needs and disabilities.
Citizens Advice Stevenage
Grant Awarded: £45, 400
Citizens Advice Stevenage offers free, independent, impartial, confidential, advice for the problems faced by people in Stevenage and to improve the policies and practices that affect people’s lives. They have an extensive track record in providing and delivering legal advice, most notably within welfare benefits. This grant will allow CA Stevenage prepare to help an expected increase in clients by growing capacity via an already established relationship with the University of Hertfordshire. This will enable students to take up home working roles via telephone and video call support roles and help CA Stevenage keep their doors open and assist more people who need their help in a flexible way.
North East Suffolk Citizens Advice Bureau
Grant Awarded: £36, 500
North East Suffolk Citizens Advice Bureau is a registered charity offering quality assured advice, including debt and benefits at specialist level. The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic had lead to increased demand for their specialist advice in social welfare law, particularly in areas such as housing, as restrictions are lifted on possession proceedings and ‘mortgage holidays’ come to an end. A Community Justice Fund grant will allow NESCAB to increase capacity within their specialist team, allowing them to use their time flexibly to meet any fluctuations in demand and overall enabling them to address the impact of Covid-19 and the consequential increase in demand for quality assured advice.
Watford Citizens Advice Bureau
Grant Awarded: £44, 141
Watford Citizens Advice Bureau provides specialist advice and casework in welfare benefits. Last year, Watford CAB dealt with 281 enquiries relating to welfare benefit appeals, most of which concerned disability benefits – a complex and time-consuming area of work which is undertaken by highly trained and experienced volunteer advisers, supported by paid supervisors. Watford CAB are expecting a surge of demand for casework once the government starts to ease the lockdown measures and reduce government support. The funding from the Community Justice Fund will enable them to recruit a paid welfare benefits caseworker to mitigate the loss of volunteer capacity and meet the surge in demand during the post lockdown period.
Ipswich Disabled Advice Bureau
Grant Awarded: £31, 403
The Ipswich Disabled Advice Bureau is a local, independent charity founded in 1973 as a small drop-in centre that became a registered charity in 1981and a not-for-profit company in 1996. They work to support people with any form of disability, their carers, families and others in related fields, who live in Ipswich and the surrounding area. The organisation is very keen to retain their staff because their qualifications and experience are so crucial to clients’ wellbeing. The Community Justice Fund grant will help contribute to the salaries of the advisors and cover the costs of a solicitor, as well as additional much needed administration costs.