The Derbyshire Law Centre, based at 1, Rose Hill East, in the basement of the Town Hall, is the largest such law centre in the country!
I've been a trustee of the Derbyshire Law Centre Management Committee for over ten years and would like to update you on the work we do.
Our aims are: ‘To provide and increase the provision of quality specialist legal advice and representation in the following areas of social welfare law:
Housing and Homelessness
Additionally, we undertake necessary project work as funding becomes available and provide an accessible assessment and signposting service to all enquirers / clients. Put simply if we can’t help, then we’ll direct you to a person, organisation or charity that can!
Always seeking new sources of funding we simply want to offer and protect the job security and outreach of many of our key workers. In present circumstances project funding is difficult but we continue to do all we can to be able to offer our services. It's a challenging existence!
COVID-19 has had a huge impact on the work we do, but even so, the pace of enquiries and expanding work load has not slackened.
We also need to extend awareness of the rights and remedies available to both individual and communities and to continue to retain our well trained and highly motivated staff.
To get a feel for what we do we have featured some cases we've undertaken recently.
A successful outcome for the Housing Unit for Mr. SY of Amber Valley, was a feature of hard work from Lisa, one of our lawyers. A council that had initially and repeatedly refused to provide temporary accommodation finally did so after legal pressure was applied. This was also a case where the client’s safety could only be secured by such a move. The housing team works well with other agencies and local councils to provide a holistic service for clients.
Homelessness: A client who was street homeless, was offered permanent accommodation with the local authority but did not have any belongings. The Law Centre secured £260 for items such as a duvet, towels and crockery. An application was also made to a homeless prevention fund for a microwave, meaning he could care for himself and maintain his tenancy.
Debt: Mrs. KR contacted the Law centre over rent arrears and her private landlord was threatening to serve an eviction notice. Additionally, our client had mobility, medical and mental health problems and she didn’t know where to start. We sorted out her debts / re payment priorities and eventually via pro rata payments, were able to prevent any further action being taken. She was even able to save a little to!
Immigration: A Latvian national who lost his job, suffered mental illness and became homeless. We were able to liaise with his support worker to provide evidence that he had lived in the U.K. for 10 years and secure indefinite leave for him to remain so that he could obtain housing support and benefits.
Employment: Mrs H was due to return to work after sick leave due to a serious mental health condition. We helped make a flexible working request, but come lockdown, childcare commitments meant she couldn’t return to work. However, we were eventually able to secure the flexible work request and furlough was continued. This protected family income, reduced stress and improved our client’s mental health.
Discrimination: A client was made redundant ostensibly when during Covid 19 his workplace closed. All other staff in the client’s department were furloughed. Our client believed that this was a case of age discrimination. After considerable negotiation, he was reinstated, paid all he was owed when out of work and then placed on furlough.
If you could use the services of the Derbyshire Law Centre please contact as below.
T: 01246 550674