We can all agree that this year has been an incredibly challenging one. In a year of great uncertainty, we have remained focused on strengthening and supporting the advice sector through grant-making, fundraising and impactful partnerships. We would like to take this opportunity to celebrate a few key moments from 2020 and say thank you to everyone who has supported us and the free legal advice sector in this difficult year.
THE GREAT LEGAL BAKE OFF
We started off 2020 with one of our most popular events, the Great Legal Bake. The annual bake sale event is a fantastic opportunity to raise money for front line legal advice services in the UK, whilst enjoying some delicious cakes, biscuits, muffins and brownies! The 2020 event took place in February (whilst we were all still all working in offices!) and raised a fantastic £32,000 nationally for access to justice services. We hope to hold another Great Legal Bake in the latter part of 2021, so watch this space for announcements on dates for this and all of our future events.
EMERGENCY ADVICE APPEAL
The Emergency Advice Appeal was a joint initiative between the Access to Justice Foundation and London Legal Support Trust to raise money for the Community Justice Fund and help to provide immediate funding and other support to specialist social welfare law advice agencies dealing with the immediate impact of Covid-19. The Emergency Advice Appeal was a huge success, raising a total of £442,665, with the first £200,000 raised matched by the Access to Justice Foundation and others in the funding community.
We would like to say a huge thank you to all of our donors and supporters from across the wider social justice community, with individuals and legal organisations coming together to fundraise, through virtual walks, runs and quizzes set up to raise money for the appeal.
THE COMMUNITY JUSTICE FUND
The Community Justice Fund was set up by the Access to Justice Foundation and five other leading social justice funders to help not-for-profit legal advice organisations be effective and sustainable in the face of responding to COVID-19. Additional funding came from the Ministry of Justice and £5 million from The National Lottery Community Fund. Over £11.5m has now been awarded to 178 social welfare organisations across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland that offer free specialist legal advice in areas such as: disability, employment, housing, immigration, women’s rights, benefits, debt and welfare. These grants will make a significant difference to organisations and their staff across the UK, helping them to increase resource and offer remote services for the thousands of vulnerable people in need of legal help and representation in these increasingly uncertain times. We would like to thank everyone who has donated and supported the Community Justice Fund this year. Your support has made a significant difference to the sector and the number of services the Fund has been able to support in these challenging times.
GO THE EXTRA MILE FOR JUSTICE
In July 2020 we launched a virtual fundraising event called Go the Extra Mile for Justice to take the place of the Foundation’s regional 2020 Legal Walks which we unfortunately had to postpone due to COVID-19. Go the Extra Mile for Justice encourages individuals and teams to fundraise for their local Legal Support Trusts by completing a distance based sponsored challenge.
The response to the challenge has been extremely positive, with participants across the UK running, walking, cycling and swimming in the name of access to justice. On Thursday 5th November we held a special Go the Extra Mile for Justice Day which was a fantastic success and raised over £6,000 for the UK’s free legal advice services. A huge thank you to everyone who has got involved with the challenge this year. If you would like to take part, or make a donation to our Go the Extra Mile for Justice campaign, there’s still time! Visit: atjf.org.uk/go-the-extra-mile-for-justice for more information.
SUPPORT FOR LITIGANTS IN PERSON
In 2020 the Foundation has been working in partnership with the Ministry of Justice to manage and administer the Legal Support for Litigants in Person Grant (LSLIP), funded by the MOJ. The grants are designed to support projects and initiatives across the country that offer a broader range of support for Litigants in Person to help them understand legal processes and their rights within them, and to help people resolve their legal issues at the earliest possible opportunity.
The grants have been split into three rounds, covering local, regional and national initiatives. Grants totalling £500,000 were awarded earlier this summer to Support Through Court (STC) and RCJ Advice, LawWorks and Law for Life for national projects supporting Litigants in Person. Regional and local grants have been awarded to organisations developing a range of services for litigants in person in geographic areas outside of London, where there is currently limited provision.
We look forward to working with the MOJ further on this initiative and strengthening our existing work to support services that help litigants in person.
NEW CORPORATE PARTNERSHIPS
This year saw the exciting launch of our new corporate partnership offering, which provides corporate sponsors and individuals interested in supporting access to justice with mutually beneficial support packages. The different levels of partnership include, Access Partnerships, for those who give an annual donation of £1,000; Justice Partnerships for donors of £6,000 and over who wish to have a say in where their contribution is distributed; and Personalised Partnerships for major donors who wish to work together to identify and fund impactful legal advice that needs support. Whether it’s employee fundraising and engagement, commercial opportunities or one-off events, we have a partnership option available to everyone who wants to make a difference and bring justice to those who need it the most. Find our more about our corporate partnerships here.
NEW CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD
In September of this year, we welcomed Laurence Harris as the new chairman of the Access to Justice Foundation. Laurence took over from Lord Goldsmith QC who stepped down as chairman after 12 years in the role. Laurence Harris is currently a partner at international law firm Cooley LLP and is vice chair of its global litigation department. He is a solicitor-advocate and has been a Trustee of the Foundation since 2012. We are delighted he will be leading the Foundation at such a crucial time for the advice sector.
We would like to express our gratitude to Lord Goldsmith, QC, who has been at the Foundation since its inception in 2008. We are thankful for his leadership, support and dedication over the past 12 years and we’re delighted that he will continue to support the Foundation as Honorary President.
THE GREAT LEGAL QUIZ
Wednesday 25th of November saw the return of the annual Great Legal Quiz but this time with a virtual twist! Quizzes across the country were hosted online, with legal brains across the country going head-to-head to battle it out to be crowned the greatest legal quiz team in the UK.
We would like to thank and congratulate everyone who took part in the quiz and give a special mention to all of the fantastic quiz masters across the country who put on such fun events in the name of access to justice. We are delighted to have raised £14,000 nationally for free legal advice services and once again would like to thank you all for your generous donations.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT THIS YEAR
We cannot say thank you enough to all our donors and supporters for your generous contributions and fundraising efforts this year.
The survival of free legal advice services and the ability for these services to help the increasing number of people that urgently need them is fundamentally important to society and your contributions have a significant impact in allowing these services to continue this vital work. Thank you.