Grants for Veterans Legal Aid Project
Dr Ola Olusanya, Aberystwyth Law School
02 November 2016
Aberystwyth Law School has secured two grants worth a total of almost £25,000 towards a project which offers free legal advice to veterans and their families.
The Veterans Legal Link was set up in 2015 by Dr Olaoluwa Olusanya, a lecturer in Law and Criminology at Aberystwyth University.
Working with a range of partners, the project supports veterans and their families across Wales by giving them access to free legal advice and specialist support services.
It relies on a network of volunteer legal clinics, charities and organisations including Citizens Advice, West Wales Action for Mental Health and the Ceredigion Armed Forces Community Covenant.
The Veterans Legal Link also offers internship and volunteer opportunities to students in Wales, as well as conducting its own independent academic research.
The project has now been made a successful applications for a grant of £20,000 from the Ministry of Defence and almost £5,000 from the Big Lottery Fund.
Project Founder and Manager Dr Olaoluwa Olusanya of Aberystwyth Law School said: “I have always been involved in veteran law and practice and through my work noticed where the gaps were for projects like ours in Wales. We are proud to be able to offer a service like this, and we are very grateful for the financial support we’re receiving from the Ministry of Defence and the Big Lottery Fund.
“As well as helping veterans, this project also provides valuable work experience and shows students how law operates in real life and how it can help people in need.”
Veterans Legal Link was founded on a belief that lawyers and law students could use their skills to bring equal justice to veterans and their families in need who are living in Wales.
Students from Aberystwyth University can sign up for the voluntary internship that is flexible enough to work around a busy student schedule and gives them over 80 hours of both academic and practical experience.
Councillor Paul Hinge is the Chair of Ceredigion Armed Forces Community Covenant (CAFCC)and Armed Forces Champion for Ceredigion County Council: “I was delighted to hear this news and I fully support the application as Chair of the CAFCC, knowing that this funding will make a massive difference to the Veteran Legal Link project. This is an important service for veterans and their families, the service offers legal advice and specialist support services tailored for the needs of users, ensuring they get the help and support they require.”
With the latest funding now available,the VLL will be able to continue and expand with their work helping veterans all across Wales with the long term aim of expanding to England and Scotland via a UK University-wide network.