WHAT WE DO
Founded in March 2013, Youth Legal is a community resource providing holding all services specific for young people in Wandworth. Youth Legal provides free legal advice at its office at Ashburton Youth Centre in Roehampton, a legal advice line providing telephone advice to individuals and advisors, and Public Legal Education to young people and advice and support workers through training sessions and seminars.
PRINCIPLE AREAS OF LEGAL WORK:
Youth Legal represents clients from the local community who have issues with regard to community care provision. Any issues relating to social services and their service provision to the disabled, elderly and minors
Youth Legal provides assistance for people facing homelessness and tenants facing possession proceedings/eviction
DEBT AND MONEY ADVICE
We provide Money and Debt advice on priority and non-priority debts issues such as credit debts, rent arrears, council tax arrears, utility bill arrears, etc. We provide the necessary information to our clients on available debt solutions such as income maximisation, informal solutions like debt management and formal debt solutions such as DRO and Bankruptcy to enable them to make the right choices best suited to them to help resolve their debt issues. Our aims is the same as our client’s, that is to get their finances back into shape and provide them the confidence to manage their finances themselves in the future
Youth Legal gives 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 will refer out
MEET THE TEAM
Valerie is a qualified solicitor with eleven 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.
Georgina studied Law LLB Hons at De Montfort University, Leicester and went to complete the Legal Practice Course at BPP University Law School.
Before joining Youth Legal in October 2018, she worked with Edwards Duthie Shamash as a solicitor in Community Law. She gained her initial experience of housing law and community care law in Foster & Foster Solicitors where she completed her training contract.
Georgina specialises in homelessness and s202 reviews, possession proceedings, disrepair, judicial Review and s204 appeals. Georgina has a particular interest in children’s rights and working with young people and ensuring they are aware of their rights.
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 Law Centre and worked there for 9 years.
He then worked at Brent 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.
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.
19th Oct 2011
25th Jan 2012
4th Mar 2013
1st Aug 2014
1st Sep 2014
1st Sep 2018
6th Sep 2019
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 01 AUGUST 2014 and Valerie Clark began providing Community Care advice under the contract
Moved into our first office
First Charity AGM
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 Law Conference hosted by Birkbeck University London in November 2019
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.