Charity is making its mark

A NEW charity based near Ponteland is already making its mark with people who have life-limiting diseases.

LegaCare (UK) was founded by Margaret Kirby of Kirby Solicitors, who discovered that there was a need for such a service after her father was diagnosed with a serious illness.

Following awareness events as a social enterprise, it held a charity launch earlier this year and is now helping people.

Patients can receive advice on a range of legal issues, such as employment, debt and mortgages, guardianship, insurance claims and lasting powers of attorney and Wills.

Mrs Kirby said: “I’m delighted with how things have gone and the people we have helped so far have been extremely grateful, which has made me even more convinced about what I’m doing.

“One of them had leukaemia and went into remission, but it came back and his employer terminated his contract on the grounds of ill health. We established that there was no sound legal reason to stop his employment if reasonable adjustments were made and we managed to get him back to work.

“And once we had discussed the situation with his employer, they were happy for him to return because everything had been sorted out both medically and legally. The man we helped is so pleased that he is holding a party to raise money for LegaCare.”

The charity recently received a grant of £10,000 from the Big Lottery Fund to help its work.

The service is free to anyone with a lime limiting illness who earns £30,000 or less.

It is also available to those earning more than £30,000 and their fees are invested back into LegaCare.

Morpeth Mayor Ken Brown is currently helping the charity, based at Kirby Solicitors’ offices in Prestwick Park, on a voluntary basis.

He is providing advice on strategy and business management, including its IT set up, formulating health and safety and equality and diversity policies and making sure its procurement processes are correct, as well as assisting with fundraising applications and awareness events.

“As an elected governor of the Northumbria Healthcare Trust, I can see that LegaCare fills a significant gap by dealing with important legal issues,” he said.

“This allows patients to focus on their treatment and spending time with their families. This support will also save them a lot of stress and heartache.”

A colourful fantasy world is the inspiration for its next major awareness and fundraising event in Ponteland Park on Easter Monday (April 25), from 11am.

The Mad Hatters Easter Tea Party includes a bonnet parade, rides, an egg hunt, games, a bouncy castle and more.

For more information, or to help out at the Easter event as a volunteer or by donating a raffle prize. telephone 01661 867016 or visit www.legacare.org