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New ‘10xChallenge’ replaces London Legal Walk

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Due to public health considerations regarding social distancing and mass gatherings

The London Legal Walk will not go ahead this year due to public health considerations regarding social distancing and mass gatherings.

The annual charity outing, which brings together members from across the legal profession to raise funds for free legal advice services, had initially been postponed until October. It was due to take place in June.

Now organising body, the London Legal Support Trust (LLST), has put plans in place to move the event to a more socially distanced format.

‘Coming together for justice’ will take place as planned on October 5 and will involve a ’10xChallenge’. The traditional fundraiser involves participants walking 10km, but this year they’ll be encouraged to “take on 10k your way”.

They can join in local to where they are by completing an activity of their choice based around the numbers 10, 100, 1000, etc. whether that’s walking, running, cycling, skipping or space-hopping their way to 10km. Supporters can also take on a challenge to a multiple of 10, whether that’s baking 10 cakes, writing 10 poems, 100 minutes of their favourite exercise class (Yoga, Pilates, Zumba etc.), 1,000 star jumps/sit-ups, or doing a team challenge to reach 10,000 or even 100,000 together.

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The LLST hopes the challenge will be a “fun, community-building event for the legal sector” but goes on to explain why the need is serious, particularly in the context of the current public health crisis. It said:

“Over the years, systematic cuts in funding have made access to free legal advice in the capital much scarcer. The spread of COVID-19 and the ensuing lockdown has meant charities providing this essential advice are facing an increase in demand, without the resources to meet it. Agencies are reporting up to a six-fold increase in the need for their services. Many people are facing serious issues which have been exacerbated by the pandemic, in the areas of housing, debt, and benefits, and need legal advice to address them.”

Patrick Marple, chief executive at South West London Law Centres, added that they are helping “a whole new group of people who have never experienced poverty, been unemployed or had to claim benefits but have been suddenly plunged into hardship.”

Further, the free legal advice agencies themselves are struggling to survive the disruption caused by COVID-19; it is estimated that up to half face the threat of closure.

LLST hopes more participants will join the 4,000 people from 668 organisations that have already registered for the virtual challenge to mark the event’s sixteenth year. You can sign-up here.

Last year, over 15,000 walkers took part to raise over £890,000 to support local law centres, advice centres and Citizens Advice.

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