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Please Help Save Our Friday Night Free Legal Service!


The Fitzroy Legal Service established the Save our Friday campaign due to cuts to Commonwealth funding that were to take effect on 1st July 2017.   


The Fitzroy Legal Service was set to lose approximately $40,000 as a result of these funding cuts.


On Monday 24 April 2017,  the Commonwealth Government announced a decision to reverse the impending funding cuts to Community Legal Centres nationally. We welcome this.


HOWEVER, it is still UNCLEAR whether Fitzroy Legal Service will receive ANY of this additional funding and if we do, whether this new funding will be directed towards specific services.


THEREFORE, we have decided that it is prudent to plan for the worst case scenario and continue the Save Our Friday Campaign to raise $40,000 by 30 June 2017.


We have initially set our Pozible Campaign Goal to $10,000 because this is an 'all-or-nothing' campaign.   


SHOULD Fitzroy Legal Service receive some of the new funding announced on 24 April AND this funding is able to be directed towards the free evening legal advice service, we have identified a number of important projects to use the funds raised in the Save Our Friday Campaign (in order of priority):


  • SOUND-PROOFING INTERVIEW ROOMS - enhanding our operating environment for clients and volunteers. Current interview rooms are not wholly sound-proofed which creates challenges when discussing a client’s legal situation, which can often include sensitive issues around Child Protection, Youth Crime and Family Violence ($13,000);


  • VOLUNTEER TRAINING - A Volunteer Support project for our 300 plus volunteers. The project would develop enhanced training and resources around family violence for night service volunteers, and improve systems, processes and support for Day Service Volunteers ($10,000); 


  • MODERNISING FILING - Archiving, digitizing and cataloguing Fitzroy Legal Service public interest files and historical records currently in off-site storage to enable our significant history to be documented and used in advocacy and funding submission work ($10,000); and


  • MODERNISING IT - Updating our IT system to enhance capacity and strengthen data recovery ($7,000).


You CAN make a difference!   Every dollar counts, whether it's $2, $10, $100 or more!


Picture L-R: Fitzroy Legal Service Staff: Natasha Wolan, Adam Willson, Ella Crotty, Julie Fletcher, Melissa Chen, Tori Diamond, Emily Buchanan, Serge Sztrajt, Jess Porter.


The Commonwealth Government announcement on Monday 24 April 2017 commits $39 million of the $200 million recommended by the Productivity Commission (Access to Justice Arrangements Report, December 2014). Commonwealth Attorney General, Senator George Brandis, has indicated that funding should be spent on Family Violence services.


At this stage, Fitzroy Legal Service HAS NOT BEEN TOLD if it will receive any additional funding AND/OR whether this new funding will be directed to specific services. 


As soon as we know the status of our new funding arrangements we will write to our Save Our Friday campaign and existing supporters.


What happens if the Free Legal Night Service doesn't get funded?


In 2015/2016 Fitzroy Legal Service assisted 3,625 clients in the Free Legal Night Service.  


Reducing services will severely impact people’s access to justice.


Currently, around 15 people a day or about 3,500 people a year access the night service.  


Reducing services will mean that hundreds, potentially thousands, will miss out on vital legal assistance services each year.


What is the Friday Night Free Legal Service?


Fitzroy Legal Service runs a FREE, drop-in legal advice service that is funded by Commonwealth, State and Local Governments.


It is held every weeknight from 6.30 p.m. (except on public holidays and during the Christmas/New Year period).


We can provide legal advice in most areas of law. We also have access to interpreters.


The Night Service is staffed by a Night Service Manager (Monday to Thursday), Night Service Coordinator (Friday) and Volunteer Coordinator, whose roles are in jeopardy due to the Commonwealth Funding cuts.


Around 250 volunteer lawyers and law students selflessly give their time to provide the legal assistance offered through the Free Legal Service.


We run four appointment based legal advice clinics as part of the night service:

1. Animal Law Clinic


2. Family Law Clinic

3. LGBTIQ Legal Advice Service


4. North Richmond Outreach Clinic


The legal advice we provide includes advice and information about the law that applies to particular cases or situations. Our volunteer lawyers include a discussion of people's values and goals and then provide recommendations about how best to achieve them. They can also draft a letter and in some circumstances can draft court or tribunal documents.


For more informaton, visit: www.fitzroy-legal.org.au


What can I do to help?


Please:

  • Pledge to make a tax-deductible donation or
  • Pledge $50 and be rewarded with a Law Handbook eBook (delivered by 30 June) or
  • Pledge $5 and be rewarded with a Law Handbook eChapter (delivered by 30 June).


Every dollar counts, whether it’s $2, $10, $100 or more


Who is the Fitzroy Legal Service?


Established in December 1972, Fitzroy Legal Service is one of the longest running  Community Legal Centres in Australia, delivering much need legal assistance services to vulnerable and disadvantaged Victorians for the past 45 years.


Our Vision is 'to be an independent and influential voice that empowers and strengthens the community through access to legal services, education, information and law reform activities'.


When we opened our doors, we became Australia’s first non-Aboriginal community legal centre. Located in the basement of the Fitzroy Town Hall, in what was then one of the poorest suburbs of Melbourne, this new legal service set out to do the unthinkable: provide free legal advice to all comers.


In the beginning it was run entirely by volunteers, only later acquiring paid staff. 


To this day, we rely on an extensive body of volunteers to run our free legal advice services and assist in the running of many of our other programs.


Visit www.fitzroy-legal.org.au to learn more.


How The Funds Will Be Used

Where will the money go?


SHOULD Fitzroy Legal Service receive some of the new funding announced on 24 April AND this funding is able to be directed towards the free evening legal advice service, we have identified a number of other important projects to use the funds raised in the Save Our Friday Campaign (in priority order):


  • Enhancing our operating environment for clients and volunteers. Current interview rooms are not wholly sound-proofed which creates challenges when discussing a client’s legal situation, which can often include sensitive issues around Child Protection, Youth Crime and Family Violence ($13,000);


  • A Volunteer Support project for our 300 plus volunteers. The project would develop enhanced training and resources around family violence for night service volunteers, and improve systems, processes and support for Day Service Volunteers ($10,000);


  • Archiving, digitizing and cataloguing Fitzroy Legal Service public interest files and historical records currently in off-site storage to enable our significant history to be documented and used in advocacy and funding submission work ($10,000); and


  • Updating our IT system to enhance capacity and strengthen data recovery ($7,000).



What if you raise more than your target?


If we raise more funds, they will first go towards further sustaining year on year service delivery and potentially allowing an expansion of services to meet growing community need.


What can I do to help?


Please:

  • Pledge to make a tax-deductible donation or
  • Pledge $50 and be rewarded with a Law Handbook eBook (delivered by 30 June) or
  • Pledge $5 and be rewarded with a Law Handbook eChapter (delivered by 30 June).


Every dollar counts, whether it's $2, $10, $100 or more!


The Challenges

  • The Commonwealth Government's announcement on Monday 24 April 2017 reversed the impending funding cuts to Community Legal Centres nationally. However it is still unclear whether Fitzroy Legal Service will receive any of this additional funding and if we do, whether this new funding will be directed towards specific services.


  • We don't have the funds to employ professionals to run this campaign. It is being entirely run on pro-bono support (marketing, graphic design and video).


  • This is a highly competitive fundraising appeal time, with MAJOR Not-For-Profit brands employing paid experts to run their campaigns - we simply do not have the funds or resources to pay specialists.


  • Reducing services will severely impact people’s access to justice.


  • Reducing services will mean that hundreds, potentially thousands, will miss out on vital legal assistance services each year.


Every dollar counts, whether it's $2, $10, $100 or more!


If you believe everyone has the right to legal assistance, please support us!

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on 2nd Jun 2017 at 12:00pm. The payment portal is closed now.
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