A Slater and Gordon Community Fund grant of $10,000 has been awarded to Wyndham Legal Service to help provide free legal services to members of the school community at The Grange College in Hoppers Crossing.
With a diverse student body from a variety of backgrounds including Pacific Islander communities, refugees and culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds, The Grange will benefit from an on-site school lawyer four days per week for two years.
The School Lawyering Project uses a new and innovative gateway to address hidden problems within a public school community.
A pilot program found that many of the students and their families had been involved with the justice system, but did not know how to access relevant legal advice and assistance. Members of the school community will now have access to weekly legal education sessions based on commonly identified issues, as well as free legal advice and support provided by a dedicated lawyer with a background in the youth sector.
Slater and Gordon Western Metropolitan Personal Injury Manager Craig Lynch, who has developed a close relationship with Wyndham Legal Service (WLS), said all those involved in the project would benefit from the grant.
“With many students at The Grange being from low socio-economic backgrounds, who may also experience geographic isolation or have lower literacy skills, access to legal services can be extremely challenging,” Mr Lynch said.
“Engaging an on-site lawyer will dramatically improve access to necessary legal information and advice, educate the school community and have the potential to contribute to school outcomes such as improving attendance rates.”
Slater and Gordon is committed to limiting the barriers to legal assistance by reaching people across a variety of ages, backgrounds and socio-economic status.
The Slater and Gordon Community Fund is made up of donations from the Slater and Gordon Staff Giving Program and funds from the law firm. The fund is managed by the Australian Communities Foundation.