Following a successful funding round, we are pleased to announce that grants have now been awarded as part of the Improving Outcomes Through Legal Support (IOTLS) grant. A total of 59 organisations based across England and Wales will receive a total of £10m in funding to support their work to sustain and improve access to early social welfare and family legal advice, specialist casework and where court or tribunal proceedings are needed, provide the support needed to help people navigate the process effectively.
The grant programme will launch on 1st July 2023. We will be working together with this cohort to support the effective delivery of advice services and collate a robust learning and evidence base to make the case for future funding.
For this funding round, a total of 221 applications were received with an overall funding ask in excess of £35million. As we know from the Community Justice Fund Funding Gap Report, the free legal advice sector is facing a significant funding gap. The effects of this gap are prevalent as frontline organisations continue to see an increased demand for free legal advice with many clients coming in with complex cases, usually at a point of crisis. Data from the last quarter in one of our grant programme shows that cases in housing and homelessness, welfare benefits, employment and family issues account for almost 91% of all cases. These issues (worsened by the cost-of-living crisis) mean that many are at risk of homelessness, breadwinners are at risk of losing their jobs and people are finding it difficult to afford their most basic needs.
This grant will help thousands more people get access to early legal help and receive support through court proceedings to solve their legal issues. We continue to make the case for more funding for the sector to ensure free legal advice continues to be provided where it’s most needed.