WHAT WE DO
Founded in March 2013, Youth Legal is a community resource providing services specifically for young people between 16 and 25 in Wandsworth. Youth Legal offers free legal advice at its office is based at Devas Club close to Clapham Common and Clapham Junction. Our legal advice line provides telephone advice to individuals and advisors, and Public Legal Education to young people and families with children, and advice and support workers through training sessions and seminars.
OUR OFFICES ARE OPEN FOR BUSINESS FROM 8 MARCH 2022. WE ARE ALSO AVAILABLE BY PHONE: 020 3195 1906 AND EMAIL email@example.com.
PRINCIPLE AREAS OF LEGAL WORK:
Advice and representation to help young people who are care leavers, need to be in care or have disabilities, and their families, obtain support from social services.
Assistance for young people facing homelessness, possession proceedings / eviction and other problems with landlords.
DEBT AND MONEY ADVICE
Advice on credit debts, rent arrears, council tax arrears, utility bill arrears, available debt solutions and income maximisation, to get young people’s finances back into shape and provide them with the confidence to manage their finances in the future.
In 2021 we initiated a new immigration advice service, with seed-corn funding from the London Borough of Wandsworth. We provide legal advice for young people and families with children who do not have leave to remain, or need to obtain settled status or apply for British nationality. We aim to regularise young migrants’ immigration status so that they can resettle in safety and rebuild their lives.
Basic, non-specialist advice on welfare benefits issues relating to disability, employment support allowance, housing benefit and rights of residence in relation to our Housing and Community Care cases. If specialist advice is required, we refer out.
MEET THE TEAM
Debt and Money Advice Case Worker
Hope has worked since 2006 as a Debt and Money Advisor and is a member if the Institute of Money Advisors.
He set up the Debt and Money Advice service at Hackney Community Law Centre and worked there for 9 years.
He then worked at Brent Community Law Centre before joining us in May 2019 to set up the Debt and money advice service for us including training in Income Maximisation for young people.
Hope has BA (Hons) degree in Philosophy/Sociology, and master’s degree in International Law. He also holds a Postgraduate Certificate (PGCE) in Social Welfare Law from Staffordshire University.
Youth Support Worker
Chloe provides holistic support around practical, personal, emotional and mental health issues.
Chloe has been working as Project Coordinator of the Families United project at Refugee Action since Sept 2017 and provided advice on all aspects of life in the UK including accommodation, access to health, immigration advice, benefit advice and education.
In the past, she worked as an Education Advocate/Caseworker at Love to Learn, Katherine Low Settlement. She advised refugee and migrant families and unaccompanied asylum-seeking children on matters relating to education and welfare benefits. She also worked at Project 17 as Capacity Building Worker and advised destitute migrant families, most of whom had NRPF, on approaching the local authority for support under s17 CA 1989.
She currently supports families at Refugee Action who may need extra support under s17 whilst they wait for support from the Home Office or from DWP. She has just set up a new Migrants’ Rights Organisation (MiRO) to support asylum seekers, refugees and migrants who may be newly arrived in the UK or at risk.
Chloe has stated working as a Support Worker for Youth Legal in November 2020.
Renata studied LLB at Birkbeck College and Barrister Vocational Course at BPP. She volunteered for Pro Bono Unit at BPP and at the Hackney Law Centre at evening advice sessions, acted as a FRU Representative at Social Security Tribunal and an adviser at the Toynbee Hall Advice Centre providing employment advice.
She worked at Central London Community Law Centre for 10 years as an Office Manager and Volunteer Coordinator while undertaking her studies and volunteering as a Housing Law Adviser at Hopscotch – Asian Woman Centre. She converted her Barrister’s qualifications to Solicitor’s in 2014. Unfortunately, CLCLC closed in 2018.
Renata joined as a Steering Committee Member at Youth Legal and Resource Centre in January 2013 and then acted as a Trustee.
Renata has been also volunteering for Youth Legal for 4 years and started working as an Office Manager in October 2020.
Radhi joined Youth Legal upon qualifying as a Solicitor in December 2020.
Radhi has acted for claimants in Judicial Reviews against public bodies and has experience in Public Law, Community Care, Education, Human Rights and Housing.
Upon completion of her LPC, Radhi has undertaken volunteer roles, which include, providing advice to migrants and refugees at Praxis Community Centre, casework for prisoners’ rights with Prisoners’ Advice Service and work on human rights related issues with International Senior Lawyers Project.
Radhi is currently working as a Community Care and Housing Solicitor.
Valerie is a qualified solicitor with thirteen years PQE. She is the Founder and Director of Youth Legal and Community Care Solicitor. She has worked in the Not for Profit advice sector since starting her law degree part time at Birkbeck College and working in admin at Central London Law Centre. She then undertook her solicitor's training at Streetwise Law Centre where she began providing legal advice to young people and families with children.
Valerie founded Youth Legal when Streetwise, unfortunately, closed down and has continued to work tirelessly to help young people access their legal rights to housing and social services provision and most importantly providing training so they are aware they have legal rights that are there to protect them.
Maureen studied a Social Science course and Comparative American Studies at the University of Warwick. She also completed an MSC in Race and Ethnic Relations. When she left University, she wanted to use her knowledge to help people and started to volunteer with several local voluntary groups and organisations, including Brent Community Law Centre.
She completed a CPE in Law at the University of North London and then went to Guildhall University to study the Legal Practice Course (LPC). While studying the LPC, she volunteered with Brent Citizens Advice Bureau. She worked on the advice line and took cases on for clients.
When Maureen completed the LPC, she successfully applied for a training contract with Islington Law Centre. She completed seats in Housing, Immigration and Employment with the law centre, and Family Law with a local private firm. She qualified as a solicitor in October 2002, became the Senior Solicitor in 2012 and the Compliance Officer in 2017.
Maureen worked at Brent Community Law Centre (BCLC) for 17 years. She initially took cases in Immigration and Employment and later did Housing, Welfare Benefits and Community Care. Unfortunately, BCLC closed in January 2020.
Maureen started working as a Solicitor at Youth Legal in November 2020.
ABOUT YOUTH LEGAL
Youth Legal helps vulnerable, marginalised young people and destitute children and families by providing free specialist legal advice in homelessness and community care law focusing on those with disabilities, care leavers and carers in a youth friendly environment using a holistic approach, improving young people's life chances and preventing crises.
Our main activity is providing free specialist legal advice, representation and advocacy with holistic support, to obtain due Social Welfare entitlement under Community Care and Housing Law, particularly challenging Local Authorities (LA). We are running our Debt and Money Advice Service, with funding from City Bridge where we help young people and families with children with their debt issues, show them how to maximise their income and teach financial capability. We have a Legal Aid Agency contract in Community Care and Housing Law.
We receive funding from Nationwide for our Opening Gates: Homelessness Advice Project where we give fundamental homelessness advice, the work that is no longer in scope under Legal Help, to people over the phone or face to face. We advise people of their homelessness rights, such as the legal definition of being eligible for housing assistance, homeless, in priority need and that they can apply to any local authority in England and Wales.
Our Resource Centre has volunteers giving young people information about organisations in the area and helps them contact and make appointments where needed. Our youth advice network website holds the information on local young people's services and fact sheets drafted by volunteers, and people can send an email, call or text for callbacks if they require further assistance. They are then helped with signposting/referring to services by a volunteer advisor all from our volunteer programme. Or they can receive advice from a solicitor/caseworker. These connection / signpostings to local specialists, foster inter-organisational cooperation and improves access to local services. Nationwide are funding the volunteer expenditure and we are actively seeking match funding for a volunteer coordinator.
We also provide 2nd tier advice and training to local voluntary organisations in homelessness and community care law. Last year we ran three training sessions with 50 people attending in total including parents. Our goal is to inform as many people as possible about their rights in housing, community care law and debt to prevent rights being eroded and empowering people to assist their service users and or deal with their issues themselves. At the least they will know when their rights are being impinged and where they can get help if they need it.
The Section 17 HUB is now open. It is an exciting new project which we have created in partnership with Project 17 to collate detailed information about local authorities' No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) practice. This is to enable organisations to obtain the best possible outcome when referring to, and helping destitute clients approach local authorities for support under s17 Children Act 1989, and assist strategic litigation. The project is to prevent the practice of local authorities bypassing s17 Children Act duties to support families with no recourse to public funds by discrediting the parents making the application. We believe 50+ support organisations and solicitors are accessing the database and 100s of families with children have benefited from it across the country.
We are developing and providing training with Lewisham Refugee and Migrant Network for young migrants on housing and homelessness and community care issues, and we are providing training to CARAS for young migrants about their housing and homelessness.
READ OUR NEW STRATEGY
19th Oct 2011
25th Jan 2012
4th Mar 2013
1st Aug 2014
1st Sep 2014
11th May 2018
1st Sep 2018
6th Sep 2019
4th Nov 2019
28th Oct 2020
18 Oct 2021
20 & 21 Oct 2021
First Steering Group Committee meeting to begin forming and set up Youth Legal
The first Constitution of the Young People's Legal and Resource Centre Steering Group was adopted at the first Annual General Meeting of the Group
With funding from LONDON LEGAL SUPPORT TRUST a feasibility study for Youth Legal was produced showing the overwhelming need for special legal advice for young people.
Youth Legal became a registered Charity, Charitable Incorporated Organisation and assisted to set up a working office virtually giving free legal advice in housing and community care with a grant from LONDON LEGAL SUPPORT TRUST
Awarded a legal aid contract in Community Care Commencing 1st August 2014 and Valerie Clark began providing Community Care advice under the contract
Moved into our first office
First Charity AGM
First annual Young People’s Legal Rights Conference hosted by South Bank University
Awarded a Legal Aid Contract in Housing commencing 1st Sep 2018
Georgina Uwaoma our Housing Solicitor started supported by funding from TRUST FOR LONDON
Became A LONDON LEGAL SUPPORT TRUST CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE
With funding from CITY BRIDGE TRUST, Hope Olugbola started as our Money and Debt Advice Caseworker
Second annual Young People’s Legal Rights Conference hosted by Birkbeck University
Renata Wardle started as our Office Manager
Third annual Young People's Legal Rights Conference, Theme: Law in the Time of Covid on Zoom
Maureen Vincent started as our Housing and Immigration Solicitor
Radhi Shah started as our Housing and Community Care Solicitor and Chloe Levassor as our Support Worker
Staff participated in the London Legal Walk to raise money for free legal advice to help young people in need
Fourth annual Young People's Legal Rights Conference, Theme: Discrimination: Are Young People Protected?
Georgina Ukaigwe (Uwaoma) left Youth Legal
On behalf of everyone at Youth Legal, this a huge thank you for all support, dedication and COVID Emergency funding from Community Justice Fund, Lottery and London Funders.
Youth Legal's aim is to improve the quality of life of vulnerable young people and destitute children and their families by making available free specialist independent legal advice in Community Care and Housing / Homelessness with a focus on those with disabilities, mental health issues, care leavers and carers.We rely on the volunteering network and donations to support our works. Your help is important to us, as well as to young people's lives.
Youth Legal wants to make sure young people between the ages of 16-25 are at the heart of our organisation and have input on how it is run, what services are available (within our remit) and how those services are accessed. Please see our volunteer pages for volunteering opportunities.
We will achieve our aims by working together with Young People to continue to develop the services that are specific to their needs and in partnership with young people's and other voluntary services already available in the area. Along with the specialist legal advice service at Ashburton Youth Club run by Regenerate, we have outreach surgeries in the offices of Youth service providers in the area to enable us to reach as many young people as possible.
We are working in partnership with Lifetimes, the Council for Voluntary services in Wandsworth. They provide training, advice, information, networking and opportunities for participation and involvement in local policy to all voluntary and community organisations in the borough.
We are involved with the Wandsworth Advice forum. Its aim is for the advice sector to work collaboratively throughout the borough. We will continue to work closely with Family Action's Mental Health Support Team and Young Carer's projects.
We have regular contact with many young people's organisation in Wandsworth and across London.
We will continue to carry out training for local voluntary organisations on the legal rights of Young Carers, Care Leavers, and Disabled Young People on community care issues including training on the Children & Families and Care Acts, homelessness and housing law and financial capability.