In these tough times, The Solicitors’ Charity is still here for you.
As we look ahead at the start of this new year, there is hope on the horizon with the roll out of a vaccination programme. Despite this positive news, times remain tough for lots of the profession.
From our experience we can see that many self-employed solicitors have been ineligible for government support and work has been hard to come by. Other solicitors have faced furlough or job loss. Solicitors have told us that these professional and financial challenges combined with the stresses of various forms of lockdown have had a negative impact on mental and physical wellbeing.
If this sounds like you, The Solicitors’ Charity understands and is here for you.
More help for solicitors
At the start of the outbreak last year, we set aside £1m as a personal hardship fund to meet the extra demand we expected to see. We’ve also listened to what members of the profession had to say about their experiences, including through our Back to Work research exercise. As a result, we’ve widened the kind of support that we can offer.
Any solicitor whose household income is below the Joseph Rowntree Minimum Income Standard is potentially eligible for support to ensure their financial wellbeing, whether through debt and benefits advise, living allowances or help with one-off costs.
We can provide help with professional wellbeing, for instance through back to work awards covering such things as the costs of practising certificates, essential equipment or interview travel costs. We can also support career transition coaching including cv writing skills and interview technique.
One of the things that solicitors have told us about their experience of the pandemic is just how much it has impacted their mental wellbeing. The last few months have caused stresses that wouldn’t be apparent in normal times: social isolation due to home working and lockdown, the worry of uncertain finances, home-schooling and extra pressures on relationships can all add up.
Though the NHS is there to provide support, we recognise the extra demands on healthcare provision particularly in areas such as counselling. In some cases, where someone needs urgent short-term intervention, we may be able to fund some types of counselling or therapy. In these circumstances, we will require a GP or other clinician to confirm the need and the lack of readily available local provision. The cost of treatment also needs to be beyond the means of the person asking us for help.
If you need to talk to someone in confidence, we provide funds to our sister charity LawCare to make sure you can access the support you need when you need it.
LawCare offers a free, confidential emotional support service to all legal professionals, their support staff and families in the UK and Ireland. The team is there to listen, with helpline calls, emails and webchats answered in confidence by trained staff and volunteers who have first-hand experience of working in the law. It also has a network of peer supporters.
If you need to talk call LawCare’s free, independent and confidential helpline on 0800 279 6888, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.lawcare.org.uk.
If you would like more information about ongoing sources of support with Covid-19 visit our website resources The Solicitors’ Charity – Responding to COVID-19.