Posted: Fri 20th Jan 2023

Plans for new law centre in North Wales receive funding boost

North Wales news and information
This article is old - Published: Friday, Jan 20th, 2023

Plans to open a new law centre in North Wales have been given a financial boost after being awarded a grant.

The North Wales Law Centre Steering Group was created by a network of individuals from the local voluntary and legal sectors to tackle the lack of free legal advice in the area.

The new service, which is due to launch in the spring, will provide free, specialist legal advice to people in North Wales who face problems with housing, or are experiencing domestic abuse, and can’t afford to pay a solicitor.

Law centres are registered charities employing legal specialists who can issue proceedings and represent people in court.

They use the law to tackle structural inequality and assert the rights of people who otherwise struggle to access justice.

Organisers have secured funding for the development and launch stages and now the Steve Morgan Foundation has stepped in to cover the £21,240 salary costs of a key triage worker.

Katherine Adams, development manager for the North Wales Law Centre Steering Group, said: “Thanks to the Steve Morgan Foundation we’ve just been able to advertise for the key triage worker role.

“The triage worker will be the first point of contact for clients. They will also be crucial to building close links between the centre and legal and advice organisations across North Wales.

“The idea is to make the centre as welcoming and easy to access as possible. We need someone who is passionate about social justice and making a difference. We’re very grateful to the support of the Steve Morgan Foundation.”

Adams said the North Wales Law Centre Steering Group was launched to fill an unmet need in North Wales.

She said: “Despite great advice organisations and legal firms offering some free appointments, people still struggle to get free legal advice.

“During Covid we saw rates of domestic violence go up. Now the cost of living is beginning to bite and people are worried about losing their homes. Not having access to legal advice makes a difficult situation worse.”

At present there is only one such centre in Wales, based in Cardiff, so organisers identified a site at Llandudno Junction and agreed it would form part of the Law Centres Network.

Adams added: “We are lucky enough to share a building with Aberconwy Domestic Abuse Service. The role of the triage worker is vital to making sure people in complex situations, who access help from several organisations, receive a service that’s as seamless as possible.”

Plans also include providing access to legal help through digital and in-person outreach in trusted community spaces such as libraries and food banks across North Wales.

Services will be delivered via a core team of expert professionals backed by a network of well supported volunteers with lived experience and an in-depth knowledge of the problems being faced.

Jane Harris, Director of Regional Grants at the Steve Morgan Foundation, said: “The new centre will focus on the alleviation of poverty, disadvantage, family break-up and crisis for those who are at most risk and with the least access to justice.

“The current economic challenges mean demand for services will go up, especially for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged people in society. That’s why we’ve funded the role of a key triage worker.”

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