A community-minded entrepreneur has launched a private advice centre to help people avoid large legal bills.
Jerry Kizza founded JM Progroup to work with clients on low-incomes who could not afford high-street law firms. She was concerned that due to cuts in legal aid people would have nowhere to turn to to help them with social security, welfare and housing issues.
She is supported by a team of advisors from her base in West London who can help with everything from form filling to accompanying clients at doctor's appointments.
Here she explains more about the business.
Where did the idea come from?
"During the last financial crisis I realised that we still needed an affordable professional service that can help people find a solution to problems that they face every day in a way that promotes equality and fair justice, and builds a stronger community.
"JM Progroup are who we are because we care. We know how it feels to need help. We understand the need for advice centres.
"We go outside our comfort zone to provide services such as outreach, not only to your home but also to your appointments when you need someone on your side, or to doctor’s appointments or DWP assessment centres."
What issues does the team deal with?
"We provide advice and guidance on many issues. Some of the issues we may be able to help with is housing and welfare advice, consumer rights and employment advice, help with form filling and drafting personal statements."
How do people contact the team?
"If you have a problem and wish to find out whether we are able to help, you can call us on a freephone number to arrange an appointment to see us at our offices.
"We will inform you of what forms of documentation to bring. Payment can be made after the assessment and confirmation that you are happy for us to take on your case."
How much does JM Progroup charge?
"There is a minimum £20 consultancy fee which is required to be paid when you come for the appointment. Unless there are other services required such as outreach, home visitation or court representation for which there may be additional costs, there is usually nothing more to pay."
How long does the process take?
"The length of the process will depend on the individual enquiry and circumstances but we work with you until we have the best outcome.
"Some cases are short and may not require much time and can last a day or a week. Other cases may be more complex to deal with and will require more time and can sometimes last up to 6 months."
What makes JM Progroup different?
"We listen to you and provide you with the right help, making sure that anything we promise can be done. We are known for our honesty, support and hard work. We are proud to fight for people’s rights and entitlements. This is what makes us different."
Has JM Progroup had any success stories?
"We worked with quite a vulnerable lady with multiple health conditions. We were able to get her on benefits and assessed for her own suitable accommodation for which she is just waiting to be placed.
"We were also able to help a mature gentleman, who was looking to return to part-time education, write up his personal statement. He is waiting to hear from the university but is confident that he will be offered a place."