|Image courtesy of Emmanuel Huybrechts|
Principally the funds are awarded to the trusts by way of a grant who then distribute it to anyone who provides pro bono (free of charge) legal services to those financially disadvantaged. The grants awarded are small, in the region to £250 - £3,000 and will only be awarded in instances where legal aid provision is unavailable or unsuitable. Pro bono assistance can be provided to poor and disadvantage people fighting forced evictions, dealing with asylum and immigration matters, mental health cases, discrimination, education and housing provision. This list is of course not exhaustive and tends to cover most aspect of civil law. Government austerity measures which have seen significant cuts made to the provision of legal aid, a bitter pill made easier to swallow by negative media portrayal of unsavory individuals in receipt of hoards of tax payer money to pay for their legal representation, is placing significant strain on pro bono services. Volunteers who work from overworked and under-resourced organisations such as Law Centres as especially feeling the strain. It is therefore vital that as much support can be garnered for Access to Justice Foundation and the seven trusts it supports. For me personally I am keen to see the South West Legal Support Trust raise as much funds as possible so that poor and disadvantaged people in my home region do not find themselves homeless, helpless and at the mercy of unscrupulous landlords, discriminatory individuals, to name a few.
To help the cause and make a donation you can visit the St John's Chamber's Fundraising Page by clicking here. (Note this has been updated for the 2015 walk)