Free legal services

2018-07-03 06:00
From left to right are Athlone District Advise Office’ dedicated volunteers: Anthony Thaits, Glenda Abrahams and Brian Alcock. PHOTO: AISHAH CASSIEM

From left to right are Athlone District Advise Office’ dedicated volunteers: Anthony Thaits, Glenda Abrahams and Brian Alcock. PHOTO: AISHAH CASSIEM

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The Athlone District Advice Office in Old Klipfontein Road, Gatesville, will open their doors to the public to provide free legal services within the next few months.

Brian Alcock, spokesperson for the advice office, says their team has already kicked off with several programmes to accommodate needy residents.

“It is very important for us to ensure the community is serviced with programmes that will benefit them. Many of them don’t have the money to get legal assistance,” says Alcock.

He says as part of Access to Justice Week, the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development will arrange for attorneys to offer free legal service for the community between 09:00 and 13:00 from Monday 16 to Wednesday 20 July.

ProBono.org has also scheduled an attorney to assist seniors with wills. The will documents will be printed on the same day from 09:00 to noon on Saturday 14 July, Saturday 25 August, Saturday 6 October and Saturday 17 November.

But Alcock says despite ProBono and the department of justice stepping in to assist, the office is currently undergoing major challenges making it difficult to service the community at times.

“We have been serving the community for over 25 years, but because of financial difficulties we have been moving from one place to another recently. Funding has really dried up for the office,” he says.

“We used to get a lot of support, but there has been limited funding in the last few years.”

But this will not stop them from serving the community.

The office tries to host fundraiser events to fund telephone lines and postage services, among other expenses.

“We have three staff members in the office daily who do not get paid at all, and we aim to at least provide them with a stipend if funds can be generated. Previous staff have left us as they refuse to work for free,” he says.

“We are thankful for the two organisations that will assist us during the next few months with hands-on legal services, but we still require much needed funds to uphold this office. The community needs this service, and the public is urged to assist in this regard,” he adds.

The advice office will continue to provide services to residents from Kewtown, Bridgetown, Gleemoor, Silvertown, Parktown, Gatesville, Rylands, Sunnyside, Belgravia Estate, Bonteheuwel, Heideveld, Mannenberg, Hazendal and Vygieskraal among others.

V For more information on the Athlone District Advice Office contact Brian Alcock on 021 836 9421, 083 747 5901 or adviceathlone@gmail.com

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