Working in partnership with CLIC Sargent, the UK’s leading cancer charity for children and young people, University of Bristol Law Clinic students will help parents of children living with cancer negotiate some of the legal obstacles that come with the diagnosis.
To do this, the partnership has established regular Law Clinic drop in sessions for families of children living with the disease at Sam’s House, one of CLIC Sargent’s Home from Homes accommodation for families and young people, while they have treatment at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children (BRHC).
The move follows research from CLIC Sargent’s recent Cancer Costs campaign, which found that, on average, families of a child undergoing active cancer treatment spends an extra £600 a month. This financial impact of cancer can be devastating for families, with many parents spiralling into debt.
Rachel Banks, Social Team Work team leader from CLIC Sargent, said:
“For parents of children living with cancer, understanding their legal position can help alleviate some of the pressure that comes with their diagnosis. We believe our partnership with the University of Bristol’s Law Clinic will make is easier for families to get this essential service at a very difficult time.”
Through regular drop in sessions, Law Clinic students will provide parents with advice on topics such as rights for benefits for carers, disability living allowance for children and more.
The drop in sessions start on 6 October.
John Peake, Director of the Law Clinic said:
“We are dedicated to providing pro-bono legal advice for those that most need it. Having your child diagnosed with cancer is an enormously stressful time, even without the added burden of worrying about taking time off work or covering extra costs. We are very glad to be able to provide some support to families and ease the extra worries by pointing them in the direction of the support they are entitled.”
The project will be supported by CLIC Sargent social workers, who provide practical and emotional support to children, young people and their families. Their services include financial support, grants, benefit information and a wide range of information on cancer and its impact.
Jaydene Davies, CLIC Sargent Outreach Nurse Specialist at BRHC, said:
“We have many families that have employment or financial issues along their child’s cancer journey. As nurses, we support them and signpost them to other organisations, however, we are unable to offer them any legal advice. We encourage a home visit from their CLIC Sargent Social Worker if they have any issues. This service will be extremely beneficial for all the families we care for.”
Rachel Banks added:
“We are looking forward to working with the University of Bristol Law Clinic. We believe the partnership will complement our social worker services, helping us expand the support we provide with free legal advice for both Bristol families and all families of children and young people having cancer treatment in Bristol.”
The establishment of the partnership coincides with Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, which runs throughout September to raise awareness and highlight the impact of cancer on children, young people and their families.