Legal Centre for Children gets Lottery cash

Children will have better access to legal services following a successful bid for National Lottery funds by the Legal Centre for Children.

Over the next three years, £98,000 will be donated to the Legal Centre for Children, the only provider of free legal advice on children's rights in England and Wales.

The money will be used to recruit two extra staff and extend the centre's advice service into the evenings so that children can phone it for help after school hours.

The centre, which recently moved out of London to Colchester because of financial shortages, can currently only give advice to children and their representatives, but can take no action. Staff are hoping the new funds will go towards providing a full legal service where cases are followed through.

Six staff, including a social worker, solicitors and a barrister, are employed by the centre to advise on education, disability, the child protection system and all other matters affecting children.

The centre is currently drawing up plans to offer a similar sort of service in Eastern European countries.

The head of the centre, qualified barrister Carolyn Hamilton, said: “After our recent funding difficulties, this money has given us a boost.

“We will be going back to the Lottery and applying for help from Essex County Council and the BBC Children in Need scheme.”