BY LANEY MCQUEEN, BAYSIDE COMMUNITY LEGAL SERVICE
COVID has been tough for many bayside locals. At Bayside Community Legal Service (‘BCLS’), we have recorded increased enquiries relating to domestic violence, disagreements with neighbours, debts, parenting and private car sales. Many in our community have faced these issues, having no idea where to start, what kind of problem they have and who they are supposed to talk to. They ask, do I need a social worker? Or, someone from the government? Maybe even a lawyer?
At BCLS, we provide free legal support to help navigate these problems. We couldn’t do what we do without drawing on the expertise of our 75 dedicated volunteers, who come from a range of legal and professional backgrounds. Each volunteers their time to provide one-on-one advice that can help locals take the next step towards a solution.
Our advice ranges from free legal advice and mediation, through to assistance with government forms, general information and referrals to specialised legal or social services. Our goals are to help locals understand legal jargon and explore their options. For example, if you have to go to court, we can talk to you about what to expect. If you have several options on the table, we can help you decide what the best option is. Importantly, we help locals of all genders, ethnicities, ages and backgrounds.
Luckily, COVID lockdowns have formed no barrier to helping our local community; we provide fully remote assistance to everyone, including single parents with children, the elderly, and people who require assistance and support. The resulting increased demand for our services means we are always looking for new volunteers – those legal professionals who have a commitment to community and a passion to make a difference.
If you want to join the team, visit our website (https://bcls.org.au/) or call us on 3162 3282, to chat with one or our volunteers.