Sunderland lecturer launches advice service in shock at friend's legal services quote
A lecturer has launched a not-for-profit advice service after she was shocked to discover how much a friend had been quoted for a legal matter.
Angela Wilcock, a former University of Sunderland social sciences lecturer and researcher, has launched the Family Advisory Service to help vulnerable people and families.
Dr Wilcock, who is from Sunderland, founded the organisation after helping the friend regain contact with his child and witnessing how much legal providers were charging for tasks such as completing forms and accessing advice.
She said: “He was being quoted over a thousand pounds just to access advice and start the court process and I knew there had to be a better and cheaper solution.
“After seeking out support from other organisations, we were surprised to find that there was nowhere that offered the service he required and so, with my expertise as a lecturer and researcher and having previously worked with voluntary and family support organisations, I helped guide him through the entire process after just two hour-long catch-ups.
“That was what inspired me to explore the idea of setting up my own non-for-profit organisation to help others in similar circumstances.”
The friend ended up paying around £300 – around a quarter of what they were first quoted – although Dr Wilcock said some people could receive similar help for free depending on their circumstances.
Dr Wilcock, 56, received support from the North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC), based at Enterprise Park East, Sunderland, with social enterprise advisors Ernest Dodds and Kevin Marquis successfully guiding her through an application to the National Lottery’s Community Fund for £8,252 of funding.
Mr Marquis said: “It has been great working with Angela to launch the Family Advisory Service and we’re proud to have been able to support her on her journey.
“There have been so many cuts to vital public services over recent years which have had a huge impact on society and services like this are vital to ensuring those in vulnerable positions continue to receive the support they need.”
For more information on the North East BIC, which has helped thousands of businesses over the last two decades, visit www.ne-bic.co.uk or telephone (0191)5166200.