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New legal funding stream a game changer for regional Victorians

22 April 2024

Eight community organisations are set to share in a $7 million funding boost, enabling them to provide vital legal services across regional and metropolitan Victoria.

Thousands of everyday Victorians will reap the benefits of Strong Foundations – Victorian Legal Services Board and Commissioner’s (VLSB+C) groundbreaking new funding stream that promises to create strong, lasting services, from the ground up.

VLSB+C’s Board CEO and Commissioner Fiona McLeay said this game-changing funding will provide the kind of flexibility and certainty that’s needed to see long-term growth in access to justice.

“Strong Foundations grants are about building a solid base and creating the infrastructure that’s needed to run a community legal organisation effectively – and keep it running, even when there are significant stressors and circumstances change,” Ms McLeay said.

“And Victorians need this stability more than ever as they grapple with social and financial pressures and increasing legal complexity.”

“These are generous grants to community legal centres that we know and trust to deliver quality legal services to Victorians.”

In Central and Northern Victoria, ARC Justice will put $1 million towards embedding climate justice into their services, helping locals to adapt to the liveability and affordability challenges that come with changing climates.

ARC Justice CEO Damian Stock said the funding will align the responsive programs developed after the 2022 Victorian flood disaster.

“The funding will further the co-ordination of the broader sector to enhance community climate resilience and response when future disasters occur,” Mr Stock said.

For Eastern Community Legal Centre, they’ll use their $1 million grant to expand their intake and free outreach to help more people living with disadvantage from Boorondara through to the Yarra Ranges.

Victoria will also see an expansion of specialised frontline legal services for criminalised women – the state’s fastest-growing prison demographic. Law and Advocacy Centre for Women will use their $1 million grant to expand access to social work services, and bolster their capacity to advocate for improved gender-responsiveness in the criminal legal system.

Strong Foundations is the newest branch of the Victorian Legal Services Board and Commissioner’s broader grants program, which has awarded 217 grants totalling $66.5 million since 2007.

The full list of Strong Foundations grantees and details on their projects can be accessed here

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