Post by Colin Henderson on Mar 20, 2015 19:42:49 GMT
Last year we reported the sad demise of South Manchester Law Centre. That left just two small law centres in Bury and Rochdale for the whole of the Greater Manchester population.
Now some of the good people who organised first as Access to Advice, now as Justice Alliance North, have decided they won't let little things like no premises, no funders and the toughest voluntary sector climate in living memory prevent the people of Manchester getting a law centre. I know these people. They WILL make this happen!
There will be a public meeting on 31 March to launch the project of creating the Law Centre.
Manchester needs a law centre
If you agree come to the Launch on Tuesday 31st March 6.30pm
at the Mechanics Institute, 103 Princess St. M1 6DD
If people are committed then there WILL BE a new law centre, owned by the community and providing high quality legal representation – for free!!
Through legal and social means we can help people improve their lives and work for social change for the better. We can provide a structure through which people can use their political voices to campaign for change.
The law centre will provide free legal advice and representation and ensure access to justice for people in Greater Manchester who would not otherwise afford it.
We are developing partnerships with trades unions and other campaigns.
We will involve community activists in the development of the project.
We will work alongside other providers of advice and legal services.
We expect to provide advice initially in employment and welfare benefits. Over time we want to expand provision and to support campaigns in public law and human rights.
The first members of the organisation are people living and working in Manchester who share a concern that there is an urgent need to re-establish free legal advice services for local people. We anticipate setting up an initial steering group to do the preliminary work required.
We aim to identify premises, we need to launch a pilot law centre casework service, we should also create a website and publicise what we want to do.
Volunteers will be the backbone of the law centre.
For more information contact: Paul Im Thurn or John Nicholson Kenworthys Chambers firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
Post by Colin Henderson on Apr 12, 2016 10:13:31 GMT
This badly-needed project continues and there will be a Public Meeting on Tuesday 26th April 18.30 at the Mechanics Institute, Princess Street.
Please attend and/or spread this around your networks. The folks doing this are really keen on hearing your thoughts as well as letting you know how far along they are in setting up the only community law centre in the boroughs of Manchester and Salford.
On Monday 18th they want to get #whyweneedGMLawCentre trending on twitter. So if you can sum up in 119 characters why Greater Manchester needs a law centre and include the hashtag at the end of the tweet, they will retweet it to their 700 followers.
Oh and have just heard they've recruited Willy Bach, Mike Mansfield and Stephen Sedley as patrons. Impressive!
Post by Richard Wilkinson on Apr 26, 2016 7:26:43 GMT
is this still on tonight?
The idea I had was whether it would be more effective/better use of resources to try to add capacity to one of the existing Greater Manchester agencies that deliver specialist Social Welfare advice, than to start a totally new one from scratch? Could then channel resources and peoples time into direct delivery rather than development (designing a logo, mem and arts, setting up a board, bank stuff, the various registrations, network accreditiation, LCF, SRA, OISC and other acronyms I cant recall at this time of morning - etc etc)
Post by Richard Wilkinson on Apr 26, 2016 12:01:59 GMT
Yes totally. The Welfare benefits issue is totally central - and like you say, the unmet need beyond comprehension. In the particular locality where i work in Greater Manchester we receive 5000 or so new people a year presenting with a benefits problems. In the vast majority of cases there is something that can be done. Many organisations have the capability but not the capacity. If it were the other way round i could definitely see the value in a new organisation being set up. Sadly I cant get into Manchester this evening, but will hopefully attend one soon
Post by Colin Henderson on Jun 30, 2016 14:19:31 GMT
Good interview of John Nicholson by Jon Robins at Justice Gap here. Would be great if they could get the doors open in August, but I bet they won't be able to cope with huge demand.
‘We will have a law centre owned and run by the people for the people’
If everything goes according to plan, then Greater Manchester Law Centre will open its doors to the public in August. John Nicholson, immigration barrister and chair of the law centre’s management committee, has been checking out new premises on Princess Road, in Moss Side.
‘We went along to have a look and three people turned up with plastic bags wanting legal advice,’ he reports. ‘There is a definite need and a real excitement from those supporting us.’
Six years ago there were three law centres in Manchester (South Manchester, Wythenshawe and North Manchester). Presently there are none. Since the April 2013 legal aid cuts under the Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO), 11 law centres have shut down. According to the Law Centres Network, its members lost 40% of their income as a result of the cuts (and over 60% of legal aid revenue). As we reported recently, advice and assistance under the legal aid scheme has collapsed to a third of pre-LASPO levels and representation is around two-thirds of what it was before the April 2013 cuts.
The Greater Manchester Law Centre’s business plan starts thus: ‘We are establishing ourselves in the harsh conditions of the international recession, without prospect of financial support from either central or local government, and with harsh competition for support from the charitable funding sector.’