Audrey Ludwig is the Director of Legal Services at ISCRE, where she leads on their Tackling Discrimination in the East project.
As those who read our recent successful crowdfunding page will know, I am from a small Suffolk based charity called ISCRE which undertake race equality and legal projects in East Anglia.
When I first contacted Julia at CrowdJustice in April, we were in financially tricky period.
Our three year funding from Big Lottery Fund for our probono discrimination law project (called Tackling Discrimination in the East or TDE) had just ended; and we were looking at several months before the application for continued funding would be considered.
TDE had been a very successful project and we exceeded the planned numbers. We helped 680 clients with discrimination law advice and had undertaken an ambition programme of awareness raising workshops to people vulnerable to discrimination, businesses and service providers.
Our charity’s Trustees had faith that out application to the Lottery would be successful so allowed us to continue with a reduced service for several months; using up some of our precious reserves. However, we needed to bring in some more funds to give us confidence during the anxious waiting period.
I had seen crowdfunding work brilliantly for cases so wondered if it using the CrowdJustice site would work for legal projects. A friend, Johanna Kauppinen, a Finnish shipping lawyer, said she would spread the word; and my real life and Twitter friends were supportive.
CrowdJustice found us a corporate sponsor, Balance Legal Capital LLP, who gave us a large donation. We utilised our contacts lists of local law firms, volunteers, members and followers on social media and wrote to them on several occasion during the month. We raised £3,845 from donations from as far away as Texas and Germany; and raised the profile of the organisation and project significantly. It raised the morale of project staff and I believe contributed to them staying with us, despite the possibility of redundancy.
Today we can announce officially that we have been awarded £349,033 by the Big Lottery Fund. This money will be used to expand the project for the next three years, providing legal advice, workshops and training to tackle discrimination arising from, for example, disability, harassment or race in Suffolk and Norfolk. We will look at discrimination cases involving access to all kinds of services, employment disputes, housing, transport and education, and offer outreach sessions in the county. There will be workshops and work with local schools to enable people to understand their rights, recognise discriminatory behaviour, and gain the confidence and knowledge to challenge it.
So for those that supported us during an anxious hiatus period, many thanks. Here is to the next three years!
Audrey Ludwig, Director of Legal Services ISCRE
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