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Goldsmiths Law students go on formidable social welfare placements

Goldsmiths Law students, from Year 1 and 2 of the LLB programme, have been offered some exceptional opportunities to partake in social justice placements across London this academic year, as part of our ongoing collaboration with the Pro Bono Community organisation. Pro Bono Community are seeking to improve access to justice by providing specialist training in legal advice and social welfare law to lawyers, trainees and students and then placing them as volunteers at Law Centres and advice agencies.

Naomi (a Year 1 student) is volunteering at University House Legal Advice Centre. She is volunteering with their employment team and is assisting with their Virtual Lawyer project, helping to reach people who need employment advice via an app.

Dominica (Year 2) is volunteering with the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain, (IWGB) assisting their Cleaners and Facilities Branch. Dominica’s fluency in Spanish has been a great advantage to her when providing support with employment law issues.

Meylssa (Year 2) is volunteering with Age UK Lambeth, working with a specific neighbourhood team to support their residents.

Rianna (Year 1) is working with Justice for Tenants, supporting those living in rented accommodation in London whose homes are under threat. Volunteering is invaluable to organisations active in this area, given the increasing challenges that those renting accommodation face in the capital.

Finally, Martyna (Year 1) and Mohammed Junaid (Year 2) are volunteering with Sufra, supporting their Advice Triage and Signposting Services. This is what Martyna had to say on her experience there:

“Sufra NW London Foodbank provides a range of services to their guests. I am a signposting volunteer, volunteering every Wednesday from 10-2 pm.

The role consists of managing cases of the food bank’s guests, checking in and signposting guests to other organisations which can aid them with hardships such as debt or homelessness – the work is mainly done via telephone, and occasionally by email.

A normal volunteering day consists of contacting a few guests. Before the initial calls, the volunteers have to cross-reference various managing systems such as the internal management hub, spreadsheets, and the database where the cases are input and stored by the volunteers and Sufra.

The interaction with the guests in this placement is highly rewarding; a few weeks ago, I was able to help a man who had recently been allocated to a flat after being homeless, by facilitating access to food and employment.

In addition to taking part in Pro Bono Community placements, Goldsmiths students are  also partaking, in the current academic year, in the inaugural cohort of the Refugee Law Clinic at the University of London (along with students from the LSE, King’s, UCL, Queen Mary and other University of London Law Schools) while also supporting the Exclusion Advocacy Clinic, coordinated by Southwark’s Community Harm and Exploitation Hub, where they are given the unique opportunity to offer confidential representation at the point of school/college exclusion.

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