URC Community Project Awards 201021 July 2010
Legal support initiative receives £3,000 prize fund
Cardiff-based charity Asylum Justice, which provides free legal advice to failed asylum seekers, has been named overall winner at this year’s Community Project Awards.
Manager Mike Adlington was presented with the award by national church and home insurer Congregational & General, at the annual United Reformed Church General Assembly held in Loughborough.
Asylum Justice tops the list of 82 projects nominated from across the UK that demonstrate how churches engage with social initiatives within communities.
Established in 2007, Asylum Justice was founded by retired barrister Roger Evans and manager Mike Adlington from Cardiff’s City United Reformed Church. The aim was to welcome asylum seekers into the congregation, and provide assistance in the local area. The team now consists of volunteers including legal assistants and off-duty social workers.
Users of the project travel from as far afield as Plymouth, London, Leeds and Hull to access the free legal advice and support available to those who no longer have Legal Aid.
Founder, retired Barrister Roger Warren Evans said: “We are delighted to receive this award and the money will allow us to continue with our work. We have successfully created a low cost, all-volunteer model that has been recognised by the awards and thank City Church in Cardiff for their unstinting generosity and support, without which this would not have been possible.
“Ultimately, it is volunteers that we need above all else, and although we conduct our own training for non-lawyers, we appeal to all lawyers who would like to be involved in joining this project to get in touch. The potential for projects like Asylum Justice across England and Wales is huge, and current Government cuts are likely to reduce Legal Aid coverage still further, increasing the demand for our services.
“We encourage volunteers both lay and professional to participate in this work wherever possible.”
Congregational & General Insurance Marketing Manager, Margaret Slater, said: “Asylum Justice stood out as a strong community initiative that is making a significant impact and offering an important service not only to local asylum seekers, but to people looking for support across the UK. Roger and Mike’s approach is truly inspirational and we hope that the money will enable the project to grow further and gain the volunteers that it needs to continue making a difference.”
Val Morrison, Moderator of the General Assembly of the United Reformed Church (URC), and one of the judges added: “The standard of entries at this year’s Community Awards was very high, and each of the prize winning organisations have made a real impact in their local area – showing God at work in small details and large visionary projects. We are absolutely delighted that so many impressive, life-giving projects have grown out of local URC congregations and we’re proud to provide Asylum Justice with their well-deserved cash prize and hope that this funding boost will enable them to continue their important community work.”