An event to mark the first anniversary of Suffolk Law Centre (SLC) was used as an opportunity to launch a scheme aimed at ensuring its much-needed services had as diverse and sustainable a range of income streams as possible.
The SLC, which is part of the Ipswich & Suffolk Council for Racial Equality (ISCRE) family of organisations, provides legal advice to some of the county’s poorest and most vulnerable residents improve their access to justice given the significant recent reductions in Legal Aid.
The SLC aims to become a significant source of free, accessible legal advice and assistance for Suffolk, and where viable, across East Anglia, by empowering the people of Suffolk to understand and assert their legal rights.
The SLC was set up after a fundraising campaign raised £40,000 towards the initial set up and staffing costs, and further support came from a £32,000 seed grant from the Legal Education Foundation.
However, the dozens of guests at the first anniversary celebrations held last Friday (22 March) at the Marriage Hall at Gotelee Solicitors in Ipswich heard that with many of these grants coming to an end this year, SLC is seeking out new funds and working hard to find further grant funding opportunities to diversify the organisation’s income streams.
According to Audrey Ludwig, SLC’s director of legal services: “in just one year we have been able to help hundreds of Suffolk residents both with legal advice and, where needed, legal representation at court. We have also launched a number of new initiatives aimed at improving specific groups’ access to justice including the Family Support Helpdesk, the Housing Legal Aid Project, and the soon to be launched Suffolk Health Justice Partnership.
“However, we can only continuing meeting the needs of our most vulnerable citizens in these ways if we can secure more long-term funding. That’s why we’ve set up the ‘Friends of Suffolk Law Centre’, which aims to give businesses and individuals the chance to make regular donations, no matter how small or large, in return for being kept regularly up-to-date with information as to how we are improving peoples’ legal outcomes.”
Anyone interested in becoming a Friend of Suffolk Law Centre should contact Sue at: firstname.lastname@example.org