An extra £2m to help legal advice agencies support people who have experienced hardship during the pandemic has been announced by The Ministry of Justice.
The money will be invested in the Community Justice Fund, which has been supporting a number of not-for-profit organisations which offer legal aid to those who have lost their job, faced rent arrears or are in debt.
The extra funds come after a £5.4m emergency support package was provided last year to assist law centres and other advice organisations endure the pandemic.
The ministry noted that the funding will help specialist organisations invest more in technology which will allow access to services remotely, employ extra staff and ensure services remain available throughout the pandemic.
The funds would also enable more people resolve their issues away from the courtroom by accessing support, the department added.
Justice minister, Lord Wolfson QC, stated: ‘We have made supporting vulnerable people a priority throughout the pandemic and I’m delighted this extra funding will ensure more of them get the expert help they need. Through close partnership with the legal advice sector such as this, this government is ensuring no one is left to face their problems alone.’
Last year, six grant-giving foundations joined together to form the Community Justice Fund – the Access to Justice Foundation, Therium Access, Legal Education Foundation, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, AB Charitable Trust and Indigo Trust.
Interim chief executive at the Access to Justice Foundation, Clare Carter, commented: ‘Specialist not-for-profit legal advice agencies have been a lifeline to people in need of expert legal advice during the pandemic. The sector has worked tirelessly to support the increasing number of people in need of help, whilst facing severe financial, resource and service-delivery challenges.
‘Through our work with the Community Justice Fund, we know that these services are still operating under immense pressure as the impact of the pandemic continues to be felt and more people seek affordable, good-quality legal advice.
‘We would like to thank the Ministry of Justice for this significant contribution to the Community Justice Fund, which will enable us to provide further funding and support to the sector at this time of great need.’
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