Host Organisation: The Speakeasy

Najwa Hassan

Originally from the Yemen, Najwa has lived in South Wales for the last 18 years.

While studying, Najwa took part in the University Legal & Financial Advice Clinic advising people on family, employment and contract law issues. She also spent time at the Speakeasy observing the solicitors and advisers providing advice on debt and welfare benefits matters and helped out at the Cardiff Pro Bono employment clinic.

Upon leaving university, Najwa worked at a private law firm in Personal Injury but her desire was really to work in the advice sector, providing free advice to some of the most vulnerable people within society. When a position as a Welfare Benefits adviser became available at the Speakeasy last year, Najwa gladly left private practice. The Justice First Fellowship will allow her to become one of very few solicitors in South Wales providing free, expert legal advice in social welfare law.

Project

Najwa’s project will focus on providing advice and assistance to those who have recently been granted refugee status.

Once granted refugee status, refugees will often only have 28 days before the support from the Home Office comes to an end. They must act fast to ensure they have an income and somewhere to live.

This can be a confusing and a daunting time for anyone having to navigate through a unfamiliar system. More pressure is added due to the strenuous time restraints.

The project aims to make available the skills and resources already provided by the Speakeasy to a group that often struggles to find timely help. Najwa will focus primarily on advice relating to housing and welfare benefits, to ensure that backdated benefits are obtained and good housing is secured.

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