16 Nov 2017
An innovative partnership project led by the Legal Advice Centre at the University of East London (UEL) has been nominated for a prestigious industry award.
The Centre, along with partners Sycamore Trust UK, an autism charity, and the Romford Autism Hub, made the shortlist in the ‘most effective pro bono partnership’ category for this year’s LawWorks Annual Pro Bono Awards. The nomination is for the partnership’s free legal advice service for people with autism and their families.
Ms Nicola Antoniou (picture right next to Mrs Eleanor Scarlett, the Centre's duty solicitor), UEL Legal Advice Centre director, said, “I’m delighted that this partnership has been shortlisted. We’ve been able to assist those affected with autism at the Romford Autism Hub by providing free legal advice. We’re pleased that our partnership has worked so well, making a real difference in the community.”
A large number of nominations were received by LawWorks for the pro bono partnership award. The winner will be announced at a special dinner on 5 December at The Law Society headquarters in central London.
The National Autistic Society says there are around 700,000 people on the autism spectrum in the UK.
Chris Gillbanks, CEO of Sycamore Trust UK, said, “Our organisation has been providing support for people affected by autism for over twenty years. Working with UEL has given us the opportunity to extend that support to cover issues that are beyond our specialism.
“The law clinic at the hub has empowered our clients to deal with their concerns and move forward with their lives, leading to greater independence and achievement. The project has been greatly received in the area and is seen as a good model of a partnership that works. We hope this will continue into the future.”
LawWorks is a national charity committed to providing access to justice through free legal advice for individuals and small not-for-profit organisations. Its annual awards recognise pro bono legal work – work undertaken voluntarily and without payment.
Debbie Gadbury, who manages the Romford Autism Hub, said many parents of children on the autistic spectrum and adults with autism often struggle and feel isolated when attempting to resolve legal issues.
She said, “There are few legal support networks available, and many people do not fully understand their rights. “The law clinic service is extremely popular and a vital service to this community.”