Project affiliate - Aviva Plc logo image

ULA's Virtual Legal Advice Service

by Sibon Phiri in Nottingham, England, United Kingdom

£765

raised of £45,000 target

27

supporters
1% 18 days left
Flexible funding – this project will receive all pledges made by 7th October 2020 at 11:59pm

To continue to make access to justice and legal help accessible for all during this pandemic & beyond through our virtual advice service.

by Sibon Phiri in Nottingham, England, United Kingdom

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A little background story

We had the idea to start a virtual legal advice service back in June 2018. We had the idea, created a basic but secure help desk type system but had no way of financing the actual project, despite making funding applications and reaching out to a number of organisations and companies about the idea. 

Our founder, Sibon, having over a decade of experience supporting and providing pro bono services within the community, saw gaps in how legal services were being provided and the people and communities that were not being reached. She just knew that providing an online advice service where people could access legal help straight from their laptop, computer or smart phone device would make law easily accessible, especially for the disabled and infirmed; those who live in remote areas where there is no local advice centre, those who work full time and cannot access local advice organisations during their restricted opening times of usually  9:00am - 4.30pm and those who simply want to find out if they do have a legal claim and what their rights are before seeking assistance from a solicitor or law firm.

Starting from somewhere...

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Although the system was built and ready to use, we did not have the financial resources to do anything with it and therefore we concentrated on community clinics in areas where we felt support was needed. We held EU Settlement Support and Windrush Support clinics for a while, in Birmingham, Nottingham and London. During this time, we secured some funding that enabled us to provide legal support in the community which helped frame the online service and the areas of law that we would cover.

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Materialising the idea 1597675092_92254417_1091069734596952_8418098516764655616_o.jpg

Fast forward to March 2020 when the pandemic started! Cancelling our community clinics meant only one thing -  if we wanted to continue providing legal support, it was time to launch our website and virtual legal advice service and provide advice in the following areas: Contractual disputes, Consumer rights, Employment law, Housing law, Immigration and Race Equality.

Impact and growth 

From April 2020 up until mid August, we have advised and assisted 172 people online. A lot of these people would have found themselves in a difficult position, been illegally evicted, left homeless, without a job and wrongly denied services if we were not available to help them. We have grown from 9 volunteers to 49 volunteers during this pandemic, which include solicitors, barristers, legal executives, paralegals, law graduates and law students. 

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Achievements

We were recently shortlisted for a National Diversity Award out of 60,000 nominations and votes and will be attending the ceremony in February 2021!

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We have been featured on BBC radio a few times and some of our volunteers and clients have been featured in local newspaper and magazine publications.

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Why we are crowdfunding

The demand in legal advice during this pandemic has led to us needing to raise money to keep our service going as initially we were piloting it for three months. The past five months have shown us that the service is really needed and we want to continue it and expand our services.

The funds raised will be used to cover the cost of maintaining the website and online support system that operates the virtual advice service and where people can send their legal inquires through.The support system is built like a help desk where inquiries are submitted as tickets, which are then assigned to a volunteer adviser to deal with. The system allows people to send documents related to their inquiry and responses are sent straight to their email. 

 The funds raised will also help towards marketing, insurance and employing staff as we have seen that as demand grows, this service cannot just be supported solely by volunteers and we need to hire at least two people to begin with.

Testimonial 

Here are some testimonials  we received from some of the people who accessed our virtual advice service and were helped:

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Rewards

This project offers rewards in return for your donation.

£15 or more

£15 Reward - Level Up In Business Workshop

An online workshop to learn 3 key tips to grow and reach your audience or ideal clients . Link to the workshop provided after the crowdfund ends. Workshop by Eminence Digital Media who helped us with our branding and website!

£50 or more

0 of 5 claimed

£50 Reward - Create a contract

Freelancers, self employed people or small businesses who donate £50 or more can have one business or employment contract created, reviewed or amended for them.

£500 or more

£500 Reward - Silver Sponsor

Companies and organisations that donate £500 or more will be featured on our website and publications for three months. A brief description of their services and a link to their website will be included.

£700 or more

£700 Reward - Gold Sponsor

Companies and organisations that donate £700 or more will be featured on our website and publications for 6 months. A brief description of their services and a link to their website will be included.

£1,000 or more

£1000 Reward - Platinum Sponsor

Companies and organisations who donate £1000 or more will be featured on our website and publications for 1 year. A brief description of their services and a link to their website will be included. They will also be added to our recommendation list which will be provided to our service users and customers whenever require further assistance beyond what we can provide and ask us for firms and companies to recommend.

Let's make 'ULA's Virtual Legal Advice Service' happen

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