We were delighted to welcome Jean Lambert MEP (pictured right) to the Centre on Friday 15th February 2013.
Jean, who is a Member of the European Parliament representing London, became a Patron of HCLC in March of last year.
During the visit to the Law Centre, Jean met our caseworkers, volunteers and interns and heard about one case in which a care leaver HCLC had helped with a housing issue – after she won a place to study at college – will not be eligible for any such help after April. Jean as shocked to hear that our client will almost certainly be unable to attend college and learn a trade as a direct result, meaning that she – and others like her – will be far more likely to face long-term unemployment and remain dependent on benefits for years.
Commenting on her visit Jean Lambert said: “Hackney Community Law Centre is dealing with an increasing number of cases involving children of parents with different nationalities – and their access to housing and education. In few of these cases will the centre be funded to offer any legal advice from April – and this will, inevitably, put children in Hackney at risk.”
“These cuts are simply shortsighted: coming at the same time as cuts to Citizens’ Advice Bureaux and other organizations offering advice in our communities, they will end up costing society far more over the long term than they will save in the short-term.”
“These cuts are a direct attack on access to justice for some of the most vulnerable in our society – and the Government must rethink them, from both a humanitarian and economic perspective. If it doesn’t do so it’s the children of Hackney, and those like them, that will end up paying the greatest price.”
She added: “There’s so much dedication and expertise that goes into making this Law Centre work – and I am really grateful to everyone who gave up their time to show me around and explain some of the difficulties they face providing access to justice for thousands of Londoners”.
HCLC Manager Sean Canning said: “We were delighted to welcome our patron Jean Lambert MEP to the Centre. Jean is well known in the UK and at EU level for her hard work and commitment to issues relating to immigration and asylum – key areas of our work. The Law Centre, like all Law Centres, is going through a very difficult time and so we are very pleased to have Jean’s strong support“.
See some photos from Jean’s visit to the Centre below:
Jean and her assistant Danny Bates (pictured centre) hear from HCLC Senior Immigration Caseworker Hilton von Herbert (pictured second left) about his immigration and asylum casework
Jean and Danny meet Senior Housing Solicitor Wendy Pettifer (pictured far left next to Danny) and her volunteer Annette (pictured right next to Jean)
Helen Hibberd from the Hackney Migrant Centre (HMC)(pictured right) tells Jean about the work HMC has been doing to help set up a sister Migrant Centre in Haringey
HCLC Solicitor Paul Heron talks to Jean and Danny about changes to funding for welfare benefits work
HCLC Development Officer Miranda Grell (pictured right) thanks Jean (pictured left) for visiting