A Sheffield advice centre which faced closure five years ago has now expanded its services with help from a law firm.
Chapelgreen Advice Centre has extended its free legal advice service with the support of Sheffield city centre solicitors SSB Law.
The independently-funded centre, based in Station Road, Chapeltown, offers free and confidential advice and guidance to people in the north of the city.
The centre was threatened with closure in 2012 after Sheffield Council cut its funding of £24,000 a year.
But an anonymous businessman stepped in at the last minute to save the vital service – which helps scores of people struggling with debt, benefits or other problems – by buying its building, but allowing staff to remain there.
Now, SSB Law is offering free Friday legal advice clinics to support the services already provided by the registered charity’s volunteer team.
SSB Law business development partner Wesley Bower said: “With just one legal adviser on hand the rest of the week, we realised that we could provide valuable support to a much-needed service.
“Many people feel they cannot get access to legal services and they are frightened to even go down that route, especially if they think it will prove expensive. Our free Friday clinic at Chapelgreen Advice centre takes the pressure away and makes that first step towards seeking a proper solution to legal problems much easier. We have worked with the centre over quite a few years now and we felt it was the right time to take things a stage further and make our relationship much more permanent.
“Since the sessions started we find that we have a full diary every Friday, helping people with issues that in the past they might have been too afraid to ask about.
“There is no legal issue we can’t take a look at and we have the full SSB team to provide answers.”
Chapelgreen Advice Centre manager Mick Appleby added: “Because we are self- funded, the genuinely free support of an organisation like SSB Law is completely invaluable.
“The fact that we are able to offer this level of legal advice means so much to our clients and they particularly like the fact that if it does get to the point where they need a full legal service and a cost is involved, SSB Law will give an up-front price with no pressure and no hidden costs.”
The centre is open on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9am to 2pm.