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Miranda Grell wins Reita Clarke Memorial Award 2014!


Miranda Grell Rita Clarke Memorial Award 2014 g We are delighted to report that at the Law Centres Network's (LCN) annual conference 2014, which took place on Friday the 28th of November 2014, Hackney Community Law Centre (HCLC) Development Officer Miranda Grell was awarded the LCN's 'Reita Clarke Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement'. 


The award was created in memory of the late Reita Clarke, long-time Trustee of Luton Law Centre and member of LCN's Executive Committee.


It is awarded every year at LCN's national conference in recognition of outstanding work by people within the Law Centres movement. Photo of Reita Clarke MBE g Reita Clarke (pictured above, middle, leading a Law Centres access to justice demonstration to No 10 Downing Street) moved to Britain from Jamaica in the 1960s.


She was a formidable community activist. As well as Reita's service to the Law Centres Movement, she was also a member of her local Police Community Consultative Group, West Indian Community Association, Rape Crisis Centre worker, a founding member of Luton's Mary Seacole Hostel and a St John Ambulance Service volunteer.


Reita also found the time to teach English and Maths at community centres around Luton and work on a special adult learning programme for Bedfordshire County Council, all while working at her local hospital as a social worker specialising in child and family cases. Reita's hard work was recognised by the Queen in the Birthday Honours List in June 2002 when she was awarded an MBE for her services to her local community.


The Law Centres Network chose to award Miranda with the memorial award created for Reita, who passed away in 2011, because of what they called Miranda's "award winning initiatives, her dynamism and creativity, and for her commitment to justice for the people of Hackney".

Miranda Gillie award presentation

Miranda - who normally writes HCLC's award nomination entries - had no idea that she had been entered for the award and was visibly moved and surprised to hear her name called out at the LCN annual conference as the winner of the 2014 Reita Clarke Memorial Award.


Miranda (pictured above receiving the award from Gillie Sharp, Director of Luton Law Centre) said:

"I am so moved that my HCLC colleagues put me forward for this award - and also managed to keep it a complete secret from me! Since I came to HCLC as a volunteer in February 2011, I have been the happiest I have ever been in my professional life.


Hackney Community Law Centre does the most fantastic and life changing holistic legal work. To have been part of HCLC's formidable team for almost 4 years was honour enough, but to now be awarded a Reita Clarke Memorial Award as well is just amazing.

Reita Clarke was a towering figure in the Law Centres movement who really cared about access to justice for ordinary people; I just hope that I can help as many people in my life as Reita was able to help in hers".


SONY DSCThe night before winning the Reita Clarke Memorial Award, Miranda - who has spent the last two years studying part-time on the Bar Professional Training Course at the City Law School - had been Called to the Bar of England and Wales by the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple


Her call had been proposed by former Lord Justice of Appeal Sir Stephen Sedley who is also a Master of the Bench at the Inner Temple.

Commenting on Miranda winning the Reita Clarke Memorial Award


HCLC Manager Sean Canning (pictured above with Miranda and HCLC Senior Solicitor Wendy Pettifer) said:

"Miranda Grell has worked at Hackney Community Law Centre (HCLC) since November 2011. In that period she has held a number of roles - Intern, Development Manager and Business Development Manager. She has been directly responsible for pioneering new initiatives to increase availability and access of legal advice for those who find interaction with agencies the most difficult.


As well as getting others to work together Miranda has a natural gift for encouraging colleagues to believe in themselves and to excel in their work. In recent years our staff have been recognised by colleagues across the sector – Paul Heron, in-house solicitor of the Year at the 2012 Law Society Excellence Awards, Hilton von Herbert, Immigration Lawyer of the Year - LAPG 2013 and just recently Diane Morrison won in-house SolicMiranda Wendy Sean 28112014itor of the Year at the Law Society Excellence Awards 2014. And all the time Miranda has been busy publicising their efforts through the website, which she set up.


On behalf of staff colleagues, trustees and colleagues in our partner organisations we are delighted that Miranda has won this year's Reita Clarke Memorial Law Centre Award for Excellence".


Read Sean Canning's full nomination entry for Miranda HERE.


HCLC Chair Ian Rathbone said:"Miranda justly deserves to be given this award for excellence, judged by her peers who know exactly how tough and demanding the situation is when you work in the law centres network. She has been a tower of strength to the Hackney Community Law Centre team and all our partners, and will take any project on, as well as thinking up new things to aid us in our efforts to secure access to justice for people in these harsh times.


She has helped to make sure the Sustainable Advice Network in Hackney, a new group of advice agencies led by Hackney Community Law Centre including the Citizens Advice Bureau, has got off the ground and started providing useful seminars for advice sector and community workers, and others, on housing, family law and other topics. In all that she does, Miranda remains an enthusiastic and hopeful person who inspires others".


*Thanks again to our wonderful colleagues at the Law Centres Network

for awarding Miranda a Reita Clarke Memorial Award!!!!*