Travers Smith LLP is delighted to have won the ‘Law in the Community/Pro Bono Award’ category at the 2016 Halsbury Legal Awards for its work supporting Refugees at Home.
Refugees at Home first came to Travers Smith as a group of individuals and has, with the firm’s help, become a charitable organisation that connects those with a spare room in their home with asylum seekers and refugees in need of accommodation.
The Travers Smith team including partner Daniel Gerring, consultant Alistair Wilson, professional support lawyer Charlotte Feld and trainees Alex Economides and Raphaella Gabrasadig has been advising Refugees at Home on its charitable structure, and drafting forms, policies and other documents as well as assisting with the organisation’s web pages and communications. The team has also provided a wide range of advice in relation to data protection, immigration and helped Refugees at Home understand and manage risk and thereby maximise the services they can offer to refugees in a safe way.
With the refugee crisis escalating across Europe, this work is a practical way to tackle some of the challenges presented in accommodating vulnerable refugees and asylum seekers.
Travers Smith’s Corporate Social Responsibility Partner Daniel Gerring commented: “We are very proud to be working with a group of talented people from Refugees at Home, and in helping make their excellent plans for supporting refugees and asylum seekers a reality. Taking on the project was initially daunting and often required our lawyers to operate outside their comfort zone. The hard work has paid off though and we are immensely proud of what we have helped Refugees at Home achieve. Since February 2016, Refugees at Home have helped provide over 5,000 nights of accommodation for refugees and asylum seekers, and their success has been widely recognised as excellent practice“.
Sara Nathan OBE, one of the charitable directors at Refugees at Home said: “I don’t know how Refugees at Home could ever have got started and flourished so quickly without the superb, pro bono help from the team at Travers Smith. We have now made almost 150 placements of asylum-seekers and refugees, who have recently obtained status, with generous hosts who offer warm, dry, safe accommodation, many meals, company and often help with adjusting to British life and the English language.”