Monthly Archives: June 2013

Elderly couples ‘Need More Relationship Guidance’

Elderly couples ‘need more relationship guidance’, BBC news 27.06.13

By Hannah Richardson BBC News education reporter

Elderly people in the UK should be offered more relationship support to help them cope with older age, the Relate charity says.

Relationships play a critical role in dealing with the pressures of old age, but can fracture if they are not nurtured, costing the state more money.

For full story click here

As Divorce surges in the over 60s Meena Kumari, Divorce specialist at Ridley & Hall Solicitors comments “I’ve  seen a significant increase in the number  ‘silver separations’ – older couples going through Divorce. They have heightened anxieties surrounding the disentanglement of a lifetime worth of assets and fears whether they will meet someone to support them in older age. More marriage guidance would equip these couples with the journey ahead.”

Meena heads up a new service Family First to help support couples with precisely these issues.

Government Cuts to Legal Aid Could Mean Parents Missing Out On Contact

By Vicky Medd Solicitor and Mediator with Ridley & Hall Solicitors.

The Government’s cuts to the Legal Aid budget which came in on 1st April 2013 are already having a massive impact on families in this country.

Previously, parents who were having a dispute over contact to their children could, provided they qualified financially, get legal aid to take the dispute to Court.  From 1st April 2013, this is no longer the case.

The Government brought in a very wide ranging definition of domestic violence, but have then brought in very stringent criteria in which legal aid will be made available.  Parents not only have to qualify financially, but they have to prove that there is domestic violence, or there is a child protection issue, and the evidence required to prove it are very exacting.

Vicky Medd, solicitor and mediator at Ridley & Hall said “Since the government cuts came in, very few clients have been able to get public funding for cases involving contact to children.  The evidential requirements often cost money – a letter from a GP, or a letter from the police are required to be written in such a way as to satisfy the Legal Aid Agency’s requirements.  This is stopping vulnerable people being represented by a solicitor in very difficult cases.  It could lead to more children not having contact to parents.”

In addition, people who can not afford solicitors are resorting to issuing court proceedings themselves.  This is taking up more court time, and the court system may struggle to cope with these cases.  This could mean court proceedings taking longer.  It also means that other services are going to be stretched – the Police and Social Services in particular.

Vicky explains “It  is hoped that the Government rethink their plan.  What they have failed to see is that by saving, they hope, £350 million from the Legal Aid budget, they will have to spend more in supporting other services like the police and social services”.

Vicky Medd is a family solicitor with over 20 years experience.  She is an accredited specialist with Resolution and has a lot of experience of financial relief, and child disputes.  Vicky was also recently involved in one of the first family arbitration cases in the country and has a lot of experience in dealing with cases as expeditiously as possible, whilst achieving the best outcomes for clients.

Vicky has also been a family mediator for the last 9 years.  She is a member of the Family Mediators Association, and is also qualified to act as a professional practice consultant, which enables her to work with other mediators, and try and develop their professional practice.  Vicky was previously head of a family mediation practice in a large West Yorkshire firm.

Vicky is also a Collaborative lawyer, which enables her to work with other Collaborative lawyers across Yorkshire to help clients achieve settlements with as little acrimony as possible.

Contact Vicky Medd on 01484 538421 or by e-mail.

Nigella story shows that domestic violence can happen to anyone

The assault upon Nigella Lawson again show that Domestic violence can be prevalent anywhere.

Meena Kumari domestic violence expert at Ridley & Hall solicitors states “Domestic violence is often about control and fear so women, like Nigella ,who appear confident and successful in their public and professional lives can live fear in their home environment. The Publicity of such cases raises greater awareness and understanding amongst the public and allows easier access to help by victims.”

Hadley Freeman, from the article in The Guardian on 18th June comments “Whatever Lawson decides to do next is her business alone, because she is not the “Nigella Lawson” image she helped to promote: she is a woman going through something that 25% of all women will endure. It turned out Lawson was more right than she knew: her home life was “normal”, albeit probably not in the way she meant.” For full story in The Guardian click here

Meena Kumari, Domestic Violence expert at Ridley & Hall can be contacted on 01484 538421 or by email.

Cricket Without Boundaries – Uganda 2013

Sarah Armitage works in the Child Care department at Ridley & Hall Solicitors

She recounts her trip this year to Uganda, Cricket Without Boundaries (CWB): a UK based cricket development and AIDS awareness charity

When my husband told me that he was applying to go and coach cricket in Africa with the charity Cricket Without Boundaries I told him to go for it. What I didn’t expect was a phone call 3 weeks later asking if I wanted to go with him. I love Africa so my automatic response was yes of course I would. It didn’t even cross my mind that I would have to coach cricket to hundreds of children bearing in mind I had never played before.

Sarah Armitage

Cricket Without Boundaries (CWB) is a UK based cricket development and AIDS awareness charity which is run almost entirely on the dedication of volunteers. CWB has three main goals which are to spread cricket through coaching children and teaching adults how to coach whilst linking it to HIV/AIDS awareness. During the coaching sessions they aim to incorporate the HIV messages whilst bringing together and empowering local communities. They have projects in several African countries including Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Botswana and Cameroon.

Since I was little I had always wanted to travel to Africa and volunteer in the local communities so when the opportunity arose to visit Uganda with CWB I jumped at the chance. We had both had previous experience with volunteering in Africa having volunteered in local schools in Tanzania back in 2010. However this trip to Uganda with CWB was totally different and something I will never forget.

Before we departed for Uganda we each had to raise £750.00 which would go towards the cricket equipment we would use whilst out there and would eventually leave behind for the local communities we coached. Having never had any experience at cricket, (except watching Michael on a Saturday afternoon down at Penistone Cricket Club) it is safe to say I was feeling a little nervous before our departure. I had no idea what to expect.

So what is a typical day for a CWB volunteer? The honest truth is there is no typical day! Everyday presents its own individual drama or hurdle to be dealt with, including goats and cows invading the cricket pitch, turning up to find no one there, double booking venues or turning up to 300 children when you only expected 50. We would generally start at 8:00am with a team breakfast and travel to the school we would be coaching at. By 9:00am the equipment would be set up ready to coach either the ever so ready teachers or the eager scores of school children. The first day at the town would be designated to pass over the skills needed by the teachers to continue the work after we had departed. Questions were asked regularly throughout the day, often by myself who alongside the teachers was also learning just as much as they were. But this helped when it came to joining in with the continuous practices of the different skills and games. The second days were when the children would arrive, sometimes all at once to be taught these new and alien skills. The natural talent of both boys and the girls was incredible and they took these new skills into the third and final day competing in the inter-school tournament cheered on by hundreds of spectators.

The main aim of the coaching sessions was to get across the ABC messages (Abstain, Be Faithful and Condom (Protection)) and also T for Testing to the children and adults. By the end of each session each child would be singing or shouting their ABCs and it was obvious that the message was getting across. We visited 3 different towns throughout our time in Uganda and the level of understanding of HIV and the ABC messages varied upon our arrival. However by the end of our time in each town all the children could tell us what the ABC stood for and were able to talk about how to prevent HIV.

There was a huge variation in skill levels within our group ranging from newbies like myself and a few others to an England international. We were joined by the England Women’s and CWB ambassador Holly Colvin. What struck us all was the enthusiasm of the local teachers and how much they enjoyed the sessions, in particular the women. I met some fantastic women who were very inspirational, in particular Grace and Betty. Betty was an amazing woman who was so enthusiastic about the HIV element of the coaching, especially stamping out the stigma which is attached to HIV/AIDs. In Betty’s spare time she worked at a local testing centre and was very keen to get the local children and adults tested. So much so that on the day of Mbale’s festival she was able to organise HIV testing for the adults who had turned up. This was a first for CWB in Uganda and is hopefully something that will continue in the future projects. Betty was able to bring a mobilised testing centre to the festival and 20 adults and teenagers were tested for HIV. For the children who couldn’t be tested Betty and her colleagues sat the children down to talk about the implications of HIV and how to prevent it.

Our trip wasn’t all about coaching cricket it was also about meeting the local people both children and adults. On our rare afternoons off we decided to visit a local orphanage and baby home in Mbale. This was definitely an eye opener for all of us and also very emotional. The baby home was home to around 30 -40 children all aged between 3 months – 6 years old.  We spent the afternoon playing with the children with the very little toys they had, but we didn’t let this stop us and managed to make fun out of even the smallest of things. Most of the children were orphans, with their mothers dying of HIV, malaria or during childbirth but there were some who had been abandoned by their parents. This we witnessed at first hand. During our first afternoon at the home one little boy had been abandoned at the local hospital and brought to the orphanage screaming his little head off wanting his mum. It was definitely a heart wrenching experience I will never forget. However when we returned the next day the little boy was no longer sobbing and screaming but a happy and giggling little boy craving some attention (Which I was more than to oblige with as you can see from the photo.)

I have taken away some amazing memories from our 2 weeks in Uganda and will never forget the experience. I met some fantastic and inspirational people, some of whom we are still in contact with and one day hope to visit. For anyone wanting to get involved in a project with CWB I couldn’t recommend it enough. For more information on how you can get involved visit the website on www.cricketwithoutboundaries.com. I think I can safely say that we will both return to Africa on another project with CWB, if not in Uganda then in one of the other projects.

Ridley & Hall has a Vacancy for a Private Client Solicitor

We have a fantastic opportunity for an experienced candidate to join our Legal 500 listed Private Client team.

This is an important appointment for the firm and the ideal candidate will have between 2 and 4 years’ PQE and who would be willing and capable of playing a significant role within the organisation. With well developed personal networks of your own, you will have great client facing skills together with the confidence to maintain the excellent reputation the firm has developed. The role will cover the full breadth of Private Client matters including, but not limited to, drafting Wills, lasting powers of attorney, Court of Protection and probate.

You should be self motivated with a proven business development record and ambition to progress. SFE membership would be an advantage, but this is not essential. This is a great opportunity to take that next major career step and join a really thriving and professional organisation at an excellent stage in its development.

Vacancies

Ridley & Hall are always keen to hear from bright, talented individuals and also experienced teams who would complement our innovative, award-winning firm. If you would like to contact us and tell us what you feel you can offer the firm, then please send your CV and covering letter to Adam Fletcher. All correspondence will be treated in the utmost confidence.

Private Client Solicitor

We have a fantastic opportunity for an experienced candidate to join our Legal 500 listed Private Client team.

This is an important appointment for the firm and the ideal candidate will have between 2 and 4 years’ PQE and who would be willing and capable of playing a significant role within the organisation. With well developed personal networks of your own, you will have great client facing skills together with the confidence to maintain the excellent reputation the firm has developed. The role will cover the full breadth of Private Client matters including, but not limited to, drafting Wills, lasting powers of attorney, Court of Protection and probate.

You should be self motivated with a proven business development record and ambition to progress. SFE membership would be an advantage, but this is not essential. This is a great opportunity to take that next major career step and join a really thriving and professional organisation at an excellent stage in its development.

If you are interested in this role, please email your CV and a covering letter stating your current salary to our Practice Manager, Elaine Davis. No recruitment agencies please.