The Community Justice Fund is focused on the needs of specialist social welfare legal advice organisations. It aims to help these organisations be effective and sustainable in the face of responding to COVID-19.They will provide flexible support so that organisations can respond to these challenges in ways that they feel best meets their needs but for which they do not currently have the funds. This could be about ‘keeping the doors open’, making the necessary shifts to home working.
Who can apply
To be eligible for funding, an organisation must be:
- Registered with the Charity Commission and working in the UK and able to demonstrate a track record of delivering legal advice in one or more of the following areas of law: asylum, community care, debt, disability, discrimination, education, employment, housing, immigration, mental health, public and administrative law and welfare benefits
- Able to demonstrate a track record in delivering advice at specialist level including carrying out end-to-end casework for clients, carrying out representation in a court or tribunal and/or holding legal aid contracts.
- The fund are not able to support generalist advice agencies, private sector legal aid practices or individuals.
- Able to provide a cash flow for the coming 12 months.The cashflow must include the following: income and expenditure broken down by month or quarter, an opening balance, and a note on the organisation’s reserve policy. They have a template you can use and download.
What are the funding priorities?
For organisations that meet these eligibility criteria, applications will be assessed competitively and prioritised against the following areas and funds awarded accordingly, however, an organisation does not need to satisfy all 7 categories to be awarded funding:
- will put a flexible grant to good use in addressing the aims of the fund;
- plays a leadership or coordinating role in a particular area of law, or in supporting a beneficiary group with particular needs, such as victims of trafficking or disabled people;
- plays a leadership or coordinating role in a particular area of the UK, especially where specialist advice services are already scarce;
- makes strategic use of law so as to maximise the impact of day-to-day casework;
- works collaboratively as part of a wider network of organisations helping to meet legal needs;
- uses its influence in local and national policy circles;
- will capture and share insights and lessons that will help inform future work. Applications will be assessed by representatives of the funders contributing to the Community Justice Fund and grants will be awarded through the Access to Justice Foundation. Law Centre applications will be assessed through the Law Centres Network process.
- General and specialist legal advice, but specialist legal advice should be a large portion of your work.
What can you apply for / use the grant for?
The size of grant awarded will depend on a number of factors including the size of your organisation and the cost and scale of the support needed. They anticipate making grants in the range £25,000 – £75,000, but may be able to make larger grants in certain circumstances. Grants can be used for things such as: salaries and equipment, expenditure that has incurred since March 23 2020.
Is there a deadline for applying?
18 September 2020, 5pm. Demand is likely to outstrip the available funds, but they are actively fundraising. It may be that they cannot fully fund your organisation immediately, but they will review applications received if further funds become available. They aim to respond with feedback within 15 calendar days. However, if they respond before that time with questions, this will inevitably delay the process. The grant should help fulfil the aims of the fund must be used by 31 March 2021.
Further information and support
You will need to have specific governance in place such as a constitution, accounts, a safeguarding policy, and a well considered budget breakdown. If you require support with this, please contact Herjeet at email@example.com.