The pro bono work we offer through our community engagement strategy is integral to the values we share as a community law firm.
Each year we provide more than £100,000 worth of free legal advice in Sussex and Surrey to charities, voluntary agencies and social enterprises. We also provide free community care law and employment law training for advice workers, and those involved in managing people in their organisations.
Community care law solicitors Cate Searle and Chloe Smith run regular legal clinic sessions at Age UK Brighton & Hove to help people who face complex health and social care challenges. We advise on care planning and funding, navigating hospital discharge, as well as mental capacity and safeguarding of vulnerable adults.
“This legal service is a fantastic resource for families. Really clear and patient advice from professional lawyers and solicitors.” – Age UK Brighton & Hove
Carolyn Hunnisett, a community care lawyer based at our Eastbourne office, leads bi-monthly pro-bono legal advice surgeries with Age Concern Eastbourne. The clinics are designed to answer questions around NHS Continuing Healthcare funding, paying for care, hospital discharge, Powers of Attorney, and safeguarding vulnerable adults.
Our community care law team run regular legal advice clinics for carers at the Brighton & Hove Carers Centre.
“Martin Searle Solicitors free advice gives carers an opportunity to seek a specialist’s opinion. We really value their experience and expertise.” – Carers Centre, Brighton & Hove
The employment law team provide free legal surgeries in Redhill, Surrey, to help people with mental health issues, stay in work or leave with a satisfactory Settlement Agreement.
“As a local charity providing employment support to clients experiencing mental health challenges Fiona and Stuart have been a vital service for us and our clients when wanting to understand employment rights. They are always happy to provide fast detailed specialist advice and they truly enhance the service that we provide.” – Judy Corney, ESRA
Our team of community care law experts also deliver training sessions in their specialist area of law to a number of organisations.
Cate Searle and Chloe Smith run free legal training sessions for the staff and volunteers at Age UK Brighton and Hove. The training is designed to support the staff and volunteers at Age UK to continue to help the community.
Our community care law team runs a series of user-friendly and practical ‘how to’ sessions for carer groups and those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease at Alzheimer’s Society Brighton & Hove. In this way, we help people plan ahead and take the mystery out of legal processes, which can make a huge difference at a challenging time for many families.
We support specific projects such as the Learning Disabilities Carers’ Meetings and popular update sessions for the public at Carers’ Rights events.
We have designed and delivered a number of tailor-made employment and community care law workshops for front-line voluntary sector workers through the Community Works umbrella.
“The pro bono support that Fiona and the Martin Searle team have offered over the years to charities and community groups in Brighton and Hove has made a huge difference to the health and sustainability of those organisations. Support has ranged from writing employment contracts and staff handbooks, providing training in employment law and offering one-to-one advice to trustees at our governance surgeries. Fiona has played a strategic role in supporting our business engagement activity for a number of years and has introduced several new businesses to us that have gone on to offer pro bono support. They have been integral to increasing our capacity to support charities and community groups in the city to be more effective. A huge thank you from the Community Works Team.” – Lisa Mytton, Brighton Community Works
We provide specialist mental capacity training sessions for healthcare staff and clinicians to support the pioneering work of the End of Life Care Facilitator.
Chloe Smith has delivered a seminar and Q&A session on Lasting Powers of Attorney to the local Macular Society support group, helping those with sight difficulties and their carers to plan ahead and protect their futures.
Fiona Martin provides employment law training to ensure that the managers of charities, voluntary agencies and social enterprises understand their responsibilities as employers to ensure best practice so that their employees are managed fairly.
Knowledge is key and we are dedicated to helping people improve their skills. This is why we are proud to deliver bespoke training sessions through business support organisations such as Wired Sussex, MDHUB, Acas and Skills Exchange in partnership with Community Works.
We also run two HR Forums to provide employment law updates and promote best practice within our Sussex business community. HR Matters is coordinated with Jane Schofield, HR Manager at Varndean College, and is open to all business sectors in Brighton and Hove.
HR Digital Media is run in partnership with Wired Sussex supporting our local digital media sector in Brighton and Hove. HR Digital Media will be launched in Crawley in May 2016.
To help Brighton & Hove Community Works deliver services spanning our local community, we deliver regular, tailor-made community care law workshops for charitable and voluntary sector members.
Stuart Markless trains volunteers and paid workers on key and changing employment law issues for Brighton and Hove Citizens Advice Bureau.
We have worked with The Prince’s Trust mentoring young people who have set up their own business. We take part in careers workshops including an event at Patcham High School called Inspiring Young Women and organised a legal careers evening at Blatchington Mill School. We provide work experience particularly for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. We also sponsor Best Employment Law Student at University of Brighton and each year offer the winner a week’s work experience shadowing our employment team.
We support charitable giving through fundraising and donations. We took part in a sponsored fire walk and hosted an Alternative 80’s Party for Adventure Unlimited and our 10 year celebration raised money for Brighton and Hove CAB.
We ran a Rugby World Cup 2015 charity sweepstake, took part in Christmas Jumper day 2015, raising money for Text Santa. We also regularly send money to finance Burning the Clocks, by Same Sky and the Children’s Christmas party at Brighton Unemployed Centre Families Project.
In October 2015, Planning to Remove the Stress raised a total of £1,645 from ticket sales for the Conference’s local charity partners: Age UK Brighton & Hove, Alzheimer’s Society, Frenkel Topping Charity Foundation and Headway East Sussex and Headway West Sussex.