HOW College students help lay down the law

02 February 2016

HoW College students help lay down the law

Students from the Heart of Worcestershire College have helped lay down the law thanks to an on-going partnership with Worcester Citizens Advice Bureau, Worcester Housing and Benefits Advice Centre and Worcester Municipal Charities.

Six students from the College's law school have been working alongside Worcester CAB & WHABAC as part of a unique scheme, launched in 2013, in response to government reductions in legal aid.

The project, which is funded by Worcester Municipal Charities, has seen students from the College undertake a summer of training in welfare and benefits casework, before taking on a number of cases providing vital advice and assistance.

Speaking about the opportunity Farah Afshan, a student from the Worcester Law School, said:

"Working with Worcester CAB & WHABAC has been a great and challenging experience. This is something that I have always wanted to do after admiring the services of the Citizens Advice Bureau and I feel extremely lucky to have been selected for this opportunity."

Brandon Birmingham, a fellow student, added:

"This opportunity has been challenging but also really helpful to gain an insight into this field of work, interacting with clients and doing more than just paperwork. The project has really suited my needs and my ambitions for the future and I would definitely recommend it to future law school students."

Geraint Thomas, Solicitor at Worcester CAB & WHABAC explained:

"This has been a very successful project. Last year 175 new cases were opened by volunteer student caseworkers and their supervisors, 55% of cases closed resulted in a financial benefit to clients of on average £5,000 per annum. The project was launched by Worcester CAB and WHABAC in early 2013, in response to reductions in legal aid and has ensured that a benefits advice casework service has continued to be provided for people in Worcester.  Key elements in the success of this project have been the partnership with The Worcester Law School at Heart of Worcestershire College and the financial support from Worcestershire Municipal Charity'.

Previous students who have participated in this service have gone on to find work within the legal sector thanks to invaluable experience gained throughout their time with Worcester CAB and WHABAC.