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At LGFL, we support a wide range of charities as part of our ethos of giving something back to both our local and the global community. We are particularly keen on supporting initiatives that help young people learn, grow and achieve their potential, whatever their background.

So, when Director Rita Gupta met Fiona from Reading-based charity Creating Better Futures, she knew LGFL should help support their multiple projects in Zimbabwe including education, feeding, clean water, and sanitation.

Rita was particularly struck with the charity’s mission to:

“Empower orphans and vulnerable children through access to education with fees paid directly to schools (and) a bursary/scholarship to fund gifted students to attend higher education.”

Given that LGFL has a history of helping young people get on the career ladder with opportunities as interns here in the UK, it makes perfect sense for us to sponsor a young person in Zimbabwe through Creating Better Futures.

So, may we introduce the young lady we now sponsor, Plaxedes, whose name means ‘Gift from God’. Plaxedes is aged 16 and has been raised by her grandmother. She currently attends a local high school, where she loves to play her favourite sport, netball. (Our legal secretary Gill was thrilled to learn this – her own daughter loves her netball too.) Plaxedes wants to become a policewoman, a career choice we can whole-heartedly endorse. And when Rita discovered Plaxedes’ favourite colour is pink, then we really knew we had found a girl after our own hearts!

LGFL Director Rita Gupta is delighted.

“Fellow LGFL Director Anne and I are really proud to be part of creating a better future for a child. As divorce lawyers, we see first hand how children can be negatively affected by circumstances beyond their control.

“In our work, we always put the interests of the children first. This feels no different, and we are genuinely delighted to help Plaxedes achieve her ambitions through sponsoring key elements of her education, including school fees, and school meals.”

Out of Africa Charity Ball

Every year the charity holds a Charity Gala Ball and Auction, celebrating the joy and hope of Africa and its peoples. Rita and Anne decided that the best way to mark the company’s sponsorship was to take the entire office-based team to the ball. What a night the team had! The live African entertainment was amazing - energetic, vibrant and irresistibly upbeat!

Our charity auctioneer for the night was none other than Charles Hanson, he of the boundless enthusiasm and big arm gestures from BBC’s Bargain Hunt, Antiques Road Trip, and Flog It. His ability to enthuse bidders to “go on” a little higher was a joy to behold! Everyone had an amazing time and the monies raised will help ensure that over 3000 children receive two proper meals per day at 10 different primary schools supported by the charity.

 

More information

For more information on sponsoring a child, visit Creating Better Futures

For a free initial consultation** on any family law issue, call us or contact us.

 

 

 

** Qualifying clients only - ask for details.
LGFL at Reading Legal Walk

LGFL are taking a walk! We’re taking part in the Reading Legal Walk 2019 for the first time on Monday 16th Sept, a 10K walk after work with over 150 local lawyers, judges and legal professionals.

So far, our intrepid team in trainers will consist of Directors Rita Gupta and Anne Leiper, plus our superstar staff of Gill Gillings, Amy Bartlett, Christelle Thompson and Anna Meyrick-Jones. The walk will be led by District Judge Catherine Comiskey, District Judge Sophie Harrison and HHJ Katharine Marshall.

 

Raising funds for advice agencies

We’re all stepping out to raise much-needed funds for local advice agencies in Reading and the Thames Valley. These advice agencies do a fantastic job in preventing homelessness, resolving debt problems, gaining care for the elderly and disabled and fighting exploitation.

There are many poor and vulnerable people in Reading and surrounding areas who rely on help from their advice agencies. We also know how short of funds these support agencies are, funds desperately needed to continue their vital work.

 

Support us if you can

At LGFL Ltd, we take our corporate responsibility seriously, and this walk is just part of our ongoing commitment to helping the local community. You can do your part by supporting us if you can at our Virgin Money Giving page.

Please donate as generously as you are able.

If you’d like to cheer us on, the whole event starts at 5.30pm, setting out from Walkabout, Wiston Terrace off Friar Street, Reading, RG1 1DG. The walking route takes us through Town Hall Square and on to some of Reading’s loveliest green spaces, including Forbury Gardens, a loop around Thames Valley Park, the banks of the River Thames, through Kings Meadow, before returning to the Walkabout via Reading station!

If you’d like to join in the walk, you can register online, or register on the day from 5pm onwards.

December roundup news for LGFL

If you missed what we’ve been sharing last month, here’s a round up of our blogs and some of the news posts on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

From our blog:

Helping families in need in Berkshire: our latest Act of Kindness

Rita at First Days charityOur latest Act of Kindness, and how the First Days charity supports local families in need with practical and sustainable supplies of clothes, including school uniforms.

10th anniversary AoKs: a year of Acts of Kindness by LGFL Ltd

Acts of Kindness from LGFL

Our 10 Acts of Kindness for 2018, small scale donations to ten very different charities that make a real difference.

Our article explains why.

 

From our social media:

Family lawyers and campaign group push for divorce law reforms

We're urging the British Government to reform current divorce legislation in order to protect the long-term interests of children of separating couples. The Government’s consultation on reforming the legal requirements for divorce is open until 10 December.

 

In it for the long haul: why divorce rates are falling fast

An interesting article from the Guardian
“So, divorce is declining. But why? Is it a new era of tolerance, or poverty? Plenty of people are too poor to get divorced. Two households are more expensive than one. And a later marriage – which is fashionable – often means a more effective marriage, because the child’s impossible dreams are further off – and smaller.”

 

An even split: there’s no place for gender bias in divorce

An interesting Times article
No longer is it unusual for a man to give up work or work part-time to care for the children. But Good Divorce Week, a campaign by Resolution, offers a chance to reflect on where inequalities remain.

 

‘It’s a man’s problem’: Patrick Stewart and the men fighting to end domestic violence

Stewart, David Challen and the Hart brothers know the devastation abuse can wreak – and are challenging the idea that it is a women’s issue.

 

Domestic violence charity uses powerful reversible poems to highlight hidden nature of abuse

Yes - these poems do show how easily abuse can be hidden.
Cleverly crafted poems, to bring home the importance of this subject.

 

Let the public access courts through smartphones, says Lord Chief Justice

“There is no reason why litigants of the future should not be able to attend court through an app on their smartphone, the Lord Chief Justice has suggested.”
Really?

Book clinic: which books can help me weather my parents’ divorce?

Often many books written for children of parents going through divorce are aimed at the younger bracket. This article is in response to a request for books from a 17 yr old. A few good suggestions, and why.

 

'I was married and divorced in my 20s'

This article discusses the result of divorces on 20 somethings. Whether they felt ‘ashamed’ about their divorces or not. And how their attitude to marriage has changed.

 

Appeal court rules McLaren driver's prenuptial deal is 'unfair'

Pre-nups are not yet legally binding in the UK. However, they can be taken into consideration as an important factor by judges within a divorce. BUT
"the Court ultimately retains discretion as to what amounts to a fair settlement."

 

People are sharing the songs they'd play at their divorce and they're hilarious

People choose carefully and love to share their ‘first dance’ song. Now it’s popular to share your divorce songs. Makes and interesting playlist.

 

Refuge uses powerful reversible poems to highlight hidden nature of domestic abuse

Yes - these poems do show how easily abuse can be hidden. Cleverly crafted poems, to bring home the importance of this subject.

 

Couples who have separated... but stayed best friends

Divorced but stayed best of friends. It can be done.

 

Family lawyers support removing divorce from Constitution

An interesting situation for Ireland. Irish family lawyers believe divorce has no place in the Constitution and that it is best left to elected representatives to take decisions and decide what is best for the population.

 

What happens when your child becomes violent … with you

Domestic abuse - it’s always the adults.

 

5 Tips for creating happy holidays and New Year, divorce and all

Some tips that might help if you’re in this situation.

 

Divorce courses become obligatory for Danish parents splitting up

April 1st 2019 will be the day that a new law comes into effect that means Danish parents seeking #divorce will have to go through an obligatory course first. Do you think we need this here?

 

And finally

Sorry we missed this.

May the force be with the Baroness! Lady Hale to star as Yoda in space-themed play at Gray's Inn

Acts of Kindness from LGFL

Small acts of kindness can really put a smile on your face, from a stranger in a coffee queue helping with the right change, or someone gifting you their car parking ticket with an hour left on it!

LGFL Ltd have always supported various charities, nominating a small charity of the quarter and supporting larger, national annual campaigns too.

To celebrate our 10th anniversary, our Directors Rita Gupta and Anne Leiper decided to do something different. We would nominate and support ten very different charities, with a focus on small charities that have a big impact locally. We called then our Acts of Kindness (AoKs).

 

Our 10 AoKs for 2018

1. New cricket nets for Theale and Tilehurst Cricket ClubTheale & Tilehurst Cricket Club nets

This was the first of three initiatives to support local sports at, literally, grass roots level. The existing nets were unsafe and needed replacing before the new season. Our contribution helped put up new nets in time for the youth team to train hard and not worry where the balls would end up! Visit their Website.

 

 

2. Wey Valley Riding Club Summer ShowWey Valley riding sponsorship

Horse riding is very popular in our part of Berkshire, and the love of horse encompasses all ages, abilities and social backgrounds. The Wey Valley Riding Club provides high level training for riders to progress to regional and national level. To help the club’s promotion of excellence, we sponsored a class tat their Summer Show that offers qualification to the Sunshine Tour, a championship series of events aimed at novice, amateur and unaffiliated riders.

 

 

3. Smalls for All and Idina’s Toilet Twinning MissionToilet Twinning Sponsor

These are two terrific ‘basics’ charities that caught our attention. Smalls for All collects and distributes underwear to help women and children in Africa. They particularly provide black pants as part of hygiene packs to schoolgirls in Africa to enable them to attend school every day.

Idina’s Toilet Twinning Mission is a toilet twinning awareness campaign started by a local schoolgirl. We were so moved (no pun intended) by Idina’s campaign that we immediately made a donation!

 4. Reading United Under 12’s football teamReading under 12s sponsor

Both our Directors have a love of the beautiful game, and have sponsored a couple of youth teams over the years. This year it was the turn of the boys of Reading United Under 12’s, aka the Biscuit Boys, who look great in their new LGFL sponsored shirts. We’ve also sponsored the Christmas chocolate giveaway to the team, so vital for rewarding success and dedication!

 

 

5. Jeans for Genes DayJeans for Genes sponsorship

One of our favourite charities and one we’ve supported for several years. OK, it is at heart an excuse to wear jeans to the office, but our donation helps to make a difference for children affected by genetic disorders.

 

 

6. The Royal British LegionPoppy appeal

As the country commemorated 100 years since then end of Word War I, we donated to the charity that provides lifelong support for the Armed Forces community;  serving men and women, veterans, and their families. Lest we forget.

 

 

7. First Days Children’s charityFirst days charity

First Days helps with practical gifts of clothes, toys and equipment to local families living in unintended, unforeseen poverty, right here in Berkshire. We’re pleased to support a local charity doing such valuable work in Reading and across the county. For more details, see our article.

 

 

8. Billable Hour and the Legal 500Billable hour charity

For the second year running, we were ranked in the prestigious Legal 500, improving our rating from 2017. We take our responsibility as family lawyers very seriously, and were pleased to be part of the Billable Hour, when law firms donate the equivalent of one hour’s charge to charity. With top London firms and smaller boutique companies such as ours involved, it’s a great example of a professional community giving back to the people it serves.

 

 

9. Save the Children Christmas Jumper DayChristmas Jumper Day

This year, the whole of the business community here at Citibase Reading joined in this annual celebration of kitch knitwear! And yes, there are pictures on our social media feeds…

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram

10. Launchpad ReadingLaunchpad opening doors chairty

We’ve been meeting clients at Spaces in Reading town centre for several months now, and so we’ve chosen a Reading charity as our final Act of Kindness. Launchpad helps the homeless of the town, from rough sleepers to families in unsuitable temporary accommodation. As the charity says:

“Homelessness is a complicated issue. It’s not just about losing a roof from over your head – it’s about losing your self-esteem, confidence, structure and purpose.”

Charitable giving in 2019

We aim to continue our charitable giving in 2019, and helping where we can. Keep an eye out for our blogs and social media posts on how we - and you - can help in small ways that make a big difference.

Rita at First Days charity

Every parent knows how quickly kids grow out of their clothes - and how expensive that can be for a family. Sadly, there are too many families locally that have fallen on hard times and are living in poverty, and for whom clothes are a major expense they cannot afford.

That’s why at LGFL we are supporting a local charity that aims to prevent clothes and other items that could help a family in need from ending up in landfill, as so much does these days.

 

First Days Children’s Charity

The First Days charity’s idea is simple. They encourage families to donate used and good quality clothes, toys and equipment for children, from newborn to age seven. The charity then redistributes items to parents in need across Berkshire, who are struggling to provide the basic necessities for their families. The charity also helps with provision of school uniforms for children aged 4 to 16 years.

LGFL Director Rita Gupta explains why the family law firm has chosen to support the charity as part of 10 Acts of Kindness initiative:

“As a parent myself, I find it heart breaking that local families have such a great need, and can’t afford necessities such as a warm winter coat. The children involved are the innocent party, and no child in our society should have to go without the basics.

We love the charity’s work because it helps on several levels.

  • It helps local families with practical, almost immediate help at time of need
  • It helps put ‘hand me downs’ and ‘upcycling’ back in fashion
  • It encourages us to be green and reduces landfill

I have a love of clothes, and have recycled my son’s items (with his permission of course!) so that other children will benefit from them. Much to my surprise, one of the items the charity is most short of are socks, which they put in Christmas gift bags at this time of year. So we also donated new packets of socks in the required sizes! So simple, so inexpensive to us, but so vital to others.”

Identifying families in need

Nominations for those who need help are received from social services, plus the caring and medical profession. The charity get 100 referrals each month and have a 7-10 day turnaround for parcels to families. In total, the charity helps around 1500 children every year, whose families have been affected by issues including physical and mental ill health, redundancy, rising housing costs, family breakdown, refugee status, austerity measures and the changes to the benefits system.

As First Days fundraising manager Annette Honneyball says:

“One of our most important roles is to help people to recognise that poverty exists on our doorstep and in families who you would never know are struggling. We all assume Berkshire is affluent but not everyone is. Families fall on hard times through no fault of their own.”

 

Working, but just not managing

Rita was shocked to realise that around a third of the families helped by the charity have at least one parent in full time work, yet are still struggling. 15% of those helped are escaping domestic violence and abusive relationships, (something we come across all too often in our line of work). 7% are refugees who have arrived in the UK with very little to their name.

Berkshire may seem an affluent county, but like much of Britain, behind the high house price headlines, there is genuine hardship happening too. In our immediate area alone:

  • Wokingham - 11% are in poverty
  • Parts of Reading - 24%
  • Slough - 30%

What is poverty?

In Europe, the definition of relative poverty is where a household income is 60% or less of the country's median household income, which in the UK is currently around £25,000. This means that if a household is bringing in less than £15,000 total a year, they cannot afford an “ordinary living pattern” and that they are excluded from activities and opportunities as a result.

Or as the Joseph Rowntree Foundation puts it rather more bluntly:

“Poverty means not being able to heat your home, pay your rent, or buy the essentials for your children. It means waking up every day facing insecurity, uncertainty, and impossible decisions about money. It means facing marginalisation – and even discrimination – because of your financial circumstances.”

 

Poverty in Berkshire

Poverty in Berkshire can mean a stark choice between school shoes or food. The issue of new school uniforms is also a major concern. The average primary school uniform costs around £200 and secondary school around £330. What’s more, some families in temporary accommodation don’t have access to laundry facilities, so can’t wash school shirts regularly.

 

How you can help

If you would like to help the First Days, either by donating items or fund raising, the charity would love to hear from you at www.firstdays.net. They receive no government funding and rely on willing volunteers. Or you can go online and checkout their wish-list at Amazon.

 

The LGFL Acts of Kindness (AoKs)

We’ve identified ten causes to support during our 10th anniversary year You’ll find more details in previous blogs, and our next article will give a full round-up of our AoKs!

Poppy field and WW1 soldier remembrance 2018

During much of World War One, the battlefields of France were a barren landscape of blasted trees, deep mud, bare earth and the scars of miles of trenches. Yet on this desolate landscape, the scarlet Flanders poppies (papaver rhoeas) grew in vast numbers, turning the Western Front red with their delicate, paper-like flowers.

Poppies thrive in disturbed earth, as it is exposure to light and soil temperature that encourages germination. Poppy seeds can lie dormant for years in the dark, waiting for the right conditions to bloom.

The poppy as a symbol of memorial was first begun by WWI poet John McCrae, in his poem “In Flanders Fields”. The Royal British Legion adopted the poppy for its annual appeals in 1921, and the distinctive red paper or material flowers, and the newer enamel badges, have been part of our British culture ever since.

 

As the British Legion website says, this year’s appeal is about giving thanks:

“This year, join us as we mark the end of the WW1 centenary by saying Thank You to all who served, sacrificed and changed our world.”

We here at LGFL Ltd would like to say our own ‘Thank You’, and we have made a donation to the Royal British Legion.

Poppies with Flanders Field poem

LGFL partner Anne Leiper will be donning her running shoes again on Sunday 5th July, running a 5K Race for Life in aid of cancer research.
 

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Rather than sending our Christmas cards in the post every year, Anne Leiper and Rita Gupta have instead chosen to donate the equivalent cost to a charity of their choice. Not only does this benefit two charities that are close to their hearts, but it is also far more environmentally friendly too.

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