The Access to Justice Foundation (ATJF) has today, Monday 6th July, announced the launch of its new fundraising campaign, ‘Go the Extra Mile for Justice’, an initiative designed to raise money for free legal advice centres that support disadvantaged people around the UK.

The campaign replaces the legal walks (aside from London and the South East), which the Foundation has been forced to cancel due to the COVID-19 pandemic and current social distancing guidelines.

The ATJF are instead asking participants to continue supporting access to justice by signing up to the ‘Go the Extra Mile for Justice’ challenge, a fun virtual fundraising campaign designed for all ages and fitness levels. Participants are tasked with travelling a number of miles in any form they like, from walking to running, skipping, cycling, or even hopping. For every mile they complete, participants can ask friends and family to sponsor a mile each, with a suggested donation of £10 per mile.

The initiative is designed to challenge each participant individually, giving them the flexibility to raise funds in their own time, at their own pace and to suit their own capabilities.

The Foundation is aiming for a combined total distance of 20,000 miles to be covered by the end of 2020.

The Foundation’s annual Legal Walks see thousands of legal professionals – solicitors, barristers, chartered legal executives and many others, along with friends and colleagues take part in 5-10k walks across England and Wales to raise vital funds for legal advice organisations across the UK. The ATJF are hoping that as many supporters as possible will take up this new fundraising challenge and continue to show their support for access to justice at this critical time.

The money raised from the campaign will go to the Legal Support Trusts throughout England, Scotland and Wales who distribute funds to free legal advice centres in their local area that help people with problems such as housing, employment, benefits, debt and immigration. Participants can choose for the funds they raise to go directly to their local Legal Support Trust, to be distributed in their region.

In recent years, cuts to legal advice and the closure of local advice centres have had a devastating impact on vulnerable people and disadvantaged communities, a situation that is further exacerbated by the additional pressure caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The ‘Go the Extra Mile for Justice’ campaign will help raise vital funds to cover this funding gap and support free legal advice at a critical time when it is needed the most.

“Postponing this year’s walks was a tough decision, especially at a time when legal advice centres are experiencing an increase in demand on their services due to the pandemic,” said Laura Cassidy, Development and Fundraising Manager at the Access to Justice Foundation. “We know that so many people in the legal profession are passionate about access to justice, so we’re hoping that as many people as possible will join in the challenge and help us raise the vital funds that we would have made during the walks.

“The ‘Go the Extra Mile for Justice’ challenge includes people of all ages and capabilities, letting everyone set their own distance goals and complete them at their own pace. You can do it on your own, in teams, with colleagues, family, friends or even pets. It is fun and for a good cause to help support access to justice and help the vulnerable people in society who depend on these services.”

For more information, or to sign up to Go the Extra Mile for Justice, visit: atjf.org.uk/go-the-extra-mile-for-justice or follow the hashtag #GotheExtraMile.