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21 May, 2007

Grant support for legal education as a vital tool for effective citizenship

The Law Society Charity has awarded the Citizenship Foundation a core grant of £87,500. It is the latest grant in the long-standing partnership between the two organisations to promote better understanding of the law.

The law affects every aspect of our daily lives and our society. Citizenship Foundation programmes in law-related education are designed to develop teachers’ confidence and competence in handling the law while, at the same time, directly increasing young people’s understanding of the law.

‘Legal education can be a vibrant and fulfilling part of citizenship learning, whether in the classroom or in the community,’ said Tony Breslin, Chief Executive of the Citizenship Foundation. ‘The Law Society Charity’s support is vital because it helps us develop this area, which receives little attention from national funders, despite its national importance. It allows us to demonstrate that when law related education is grounded in the real experience of young people, it is relevant, enjoyable and necessary.’

Examples of the Citizenship Foundation’s law-related work:

•The highly popular mock trials are a long-standing feature of the calendar in hundreds of schools and involve 8000 young people every year, along with 1000 volunteers from the magistracy and barristers;

•The rapidly growing ‘Lawyers in Schools Twinning scheme’ programme works in six towns and cities, putting practising lawyers and trainee lawyers into the classroom to develop young people’s awareness and understanding of the law. There is high demand from schools for more law firms to participate;

•The Young Citizen’s Passport, the award-winning guide to the law for young people is in its 12th edition and has been distributed or sold to over one million young people;

•Smart Thinking and Citizenship Challenge provide resources for work with youth offenders, those at risk of offending, and those at risk of educational exclusion;

•Life and Law in Britain: an illustrated guide for young asylum seekers and refugees and those who support them, outlines young people’s legal rights and responsibilities in Britain, and the ways in which everyday matters are customarily handled.


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