Windfall cash grants for law centres

Law centres have received over £300,000 in funding from the National Lottery in its latest round of awards.

Centres at Paddington, Salford, Wythenshawe, in Lancashire, and Harehills and Chapeltown, in Leeds, will get cash sums under the “support for low income” category.

London's Paddington law centre, which received the largest grant of £134,000, will use the money to fund its welfare rights team. The project provides support for low income residents by appealing against social security rulings.

Peter Purton, administration and finance worker at Paddington, said it was unusual for the fund to give money to revenue projects. “We were looking down the barrel of a substantial budget deficit. This money will certainly give us a boost.”

Salford law centre will use its £105,000 to fund a home workers project which gives employment rights advice to people who work from home for manufacturing companies.

The centres in Wythenshawe, Harehills and Chapeltown will use the cash to buy computer networks.

Stephen Minter, administrator at Wythenshawe, said: “We have been living in the technology dark ages. We will now be able to work more efficiently and deal with more cases.”

Lynn Evans, spokeswoman for the Law Centres Federation said: “We are pleased the Lottery Board recognises the valuable work carried out in law centres. This much needed additional funding will enable centres to broaden the range of legal services they provide.”

Half a dozen centres have already received lottery donations. Carlisle Community law centre alone received £300,000 for a mobile advice service.