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Law experts’ plea to continue help for hundreds of Suffolk’s most vulnerable residents

PUBLISHED: 05:30 03 March 2019

ISCRE and the Suffolk Law Centre are based at St Matthew's Street  Picture: RACHEL EDGE

ISCRE and the Suffolk Law Centre are based at St Matthew's Street Picture: RACHEL EDGE

Rachel Edge

Legal advisors fighting for equality on behalf of some of the county’s poorest residents are seeking new funds to keep their service afloat.

Audrey Ludwig, ISCREs director of legal services Picture: ISCREAudrey Ludwig, ISCREs director of legal services Picture: ISCRE

The Suffolk Law Centre (SLC), part of the Ipswich & Suffolk Council for Racial Equality (ISCRE) family of organisations, aims to make people aware of their legal rights so they are not forced to tackle complex cases without appropriate help.

In the last three months of 2018 alone, the SLC dealt with almost 400 enquiries, covering all sorts of issues from unlawful discrimination to immigration cases.

Now campaigners are calling for new funding to keep the service afloat – as several key grants are set to come to an end in 2019.

Audrey Ludwig, ISCRE’s director of legal services, said: “As you can see, it’s been an incredibly busy, successful and rewarding first 12 months for the Suffolk Law Centre.

“We have improved access to the law for hundreds of Suffolk residents who otherwise would have been left in the system to fend for themselves – a frightening prospect.

“With several of our key grants coming to an end this year, we are seeking new funds and working hard to find further grant funding opportunities and to diversify our income streams.

“We will be launching Friends of Suffolk Law Centre at our anniversary celebrations on March 22, to provide individual and corporate supporters with ways to support us financially as we move into our second year.”

The SLC was founded following a fundraising campaign that raised £40,000 for the set up and initial staffing costs, while further support came in the form of a £32,000 seed grant from the Legal Education Foundation.

In the past year, the service has recruited three new volunteer immigration advisers and launched two new initiatives aimed at improving citizens’ access to justice.

It also runs the Tackling Discrimination in the East initiative, which comprises a small number of paid staff supported by volunteer law students – and has so far secured £186,000 for successful claimants against unlawful discrimination.

The first anniversary celebrations will be held at the Marriage Hall at Gotelee Solicitors between 2pm and 4.30pm on March 22. Among the speakers will be Sarah Langford, a leading barrister and author of best-selling book, ‘In Your Defence’.

For more information, Sue Wardell can be contacted on 01473 408111 or suew@iscre.org.uk.

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