This has been a remarkable year for the team at Roche Legal with two prestigious awards now taking pride of place in our York office. We were over the moon to be named the Socially Responsible Business of the Year at the recent annual Press Business Awards which followed on from the Law Society Sole Practitioner of the Year award we received in London.
Melanie and Victoria represented the team at the Press Awards held at York Racecourse where our commitment to be a socially responsible member of the community was recognised by the judges, York St John University.
The team at Roche Legal take our social responsibility very seriously and are passionate in our support of charities whose causes are close to our hearts. We are also committed to raising awareness of the fantastic work they undertake, both locally and nationally.
We specialise in Private Client work and have a strong focus on helping the elderly deal with what can, a times, seem daunting legal matters. All our staff are Dementia Friends and we are acutely aware of the challenges faced by clients who are living with or caring for someone living with Dementia. Melanie, Victoria and Rachel are all Dementia Friends Champions and are able to provide Dementia Friends Information Sessions to the public and businesses alike, helping to create Dementia friendly communities.
Shortly after opening we became one of the first legal firms to sign up to the Alzheimer’s Society Will to Remember scheme, whereby the Alzheimer’s Society provide a voucher of £150 per person to clients who make a Will with us via the scheme. Every November we also take part in Will Aid, which sees our solicitors giving their time for free to prepare straightforward Wills for clients. Instead of paying us a fee for our services, the clients donate the money to Will Aid which supports nine worthy charities: Action Aid, Age UK, British Red Cross, Christian Aid, NSPCC, Save the Children, SCIAF, Sightsavers and Trocaire. So far, we have raised nearly £10,000 for Will Aid, and are currently taking part again throughout November.
Earlier this year we linked up with the York Teaching Hospital Charity to publicise their own Make A Will Week scheme to help raise awareness of this charity. We are really hoping our support leads to increased donations and legacies left to the charity. We also support the York Dementia Action Alliance and were delighted to sponsor their first Dementia Awards earlier this year.
Away from York, we have taken part in the Toilet Twinning charity to address the fact that one in three people in the world do not have access to a toilet. In March this year, we raised £240 to twin our York office toilet with four in a community in the Democratic Republic of Congo and next year we plan to twin our Harrogate office toilet as well.
We are now preparing our next initiative which we believe could significantly help families who are dealing with the heartache of a missing person. Being York-based and with members of the team having strong memories of Claudia Lawrence going missing in 2008, we are dedicated to helping raise awareness of the issues faced by families of missing people and to providing them with excellent legal services to help get matters in order during a highly emotional time. We are in correspondence with our local MP’s to keep a close eye on the implementation of the Guardianship (Missing Persons) Act 2017, which is expected tom come into force in the summer of 2019.
We have recently written to the six leading UK missing persons charities, to offer them £1,000 plus VAT in free legal services to an individual or family that they each support. This offer is to allow a person or family, who have a missing loved one, to make an application to Court for a Declaration of Presumed Death, which they may otherwise not be able to make for lack of funds.
At Roche Legal, we are always looking for ways to support our local community while continuing with our commitment to give a voice to the elderly and vulnerable.
Meet the Roche Legal team
Rachel is a Diana Award Mentor, which involves her working with local secondary school pupils to help with issues around self-confidence, bullying and other social issues that affect them and/or their families and communities. The programme also gives them an insight into the world of work, to help them make decisions about their futures.
In 2015 Rachel was the walk leader for an Alzheimer’s Society Memory Walk in York, helping to raise awareness and funds for the Society.
Victoria loves to challenge herself with her fundraising and on 21 April 2018 she completed the Yorkshire Three Peaks challenge with a team of friends, raising in excess of £1,300 for St Catherine’s Hospice in Scarborough. Determined to match or beat her April walk time, Victoria is now training to do the challenge again – hopefully this time with some of her Roche Legal colleagues.
Victoria also attends a local school each week to read with the youngest class. This ensures that each child has a chance to read with an adult and helps build confidence in those just starting to read for themselves. As well as this, Victoria supports the RSPB with regular donations and is the volunteer school Treasurer at Goldsborough C of E Primary School in Knaresborough.
Melanie has taken part in Race for Life for the last 9 years, to raise money for Cancer Research UK. This is a cause very close to Melanie’s heart as both family and friends have been struck by cancer. Over the 9 years, Melanie has raised in excess of £2,200 for Cancer Research UK and she will continue to take part for as long as physically possible.
As well as Race for Life, Melanie also sponsors an 8-year-old child through Plan’s “Because I am a Girl” campaign, makes monthly donations to MacMillan Cancer Care and Cats Protection, and has twinned her own toilet with one in the Democratic Republic of Congo. She also continues to support the York Foodbank with regular donations of food, toiletries and treats.
Karen has recently been made a judge for a charity dog show at the Golden Paws Ranch in York. Their event on 9 September raised in excess of £700 for the Golden Retriever Rescue charity.
Animals are a passion of Karen’s and she also sponsors a Guide Dog and donates regularly to the Woodland Trust, as well as attending charity dog walks with her two miniature dachshunds.