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Grants for veterans legal aid project

Helping veterans across Wales: Veterans Legal Link founder, Dr Olaoluwa Olusanya
Helping veterans across Wales: Veterans Legal Link founder, Dr Olaoluwa Olusanya

ABERYSTWYTH LAW SCHOOL has received grants of nearly £25k towards a project designed to offer free legal advice to veterans and their families.

The Veterans Legal Link, set up in 2015 by Lecturer in Law and Criminology at Aberystwyth University, Dr Olaoluwa Olusanya, secured a £20k grant from the Ministry of Defence, as well as a near £5k grant from the Big Lottery Fund.

In 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.

The project 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 (CAFCC).

The Veterans Legal Link also offers internships and volunteer opportunities to students in Wales, as well as conducting its own independent academic research.

Project Founder and Manager Dr Olaoluwa Olusanya 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.”

Dr Olusanya added: “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.”

The 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.

Cllr Paul Hinge, Chair of the CAFCC and the Armed Forces Champion for Ceredigion County Council, said: “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.”

He added: “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 Veteran Legal Link will be able to continue and expand with their work helping veterans across Wales, with the long-term aim of expanding to England and Scotland via a UK university-wide network.

Students from Aberystwyth University can sign up for the voluntary internship that is flexible enough to work around a busy schedule and gives them over 80 hours of both academic and practical experience.

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Dayne Stone

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