Students from the University’s Law School will offer pro bono legal support on a range of issues, from housing to employment rights.
Bristol is the latest higher education institution in the UK to sign the Armed Forces Covenant, which aims to remove barriers faced by members of the armed forces community in accessing public services.
In addition to offering legal support, the University has committed to being an armed forces-friendly organisation and to offering a degree of flexibility for the partners of those currently serving.
The news has been welcomed by Universities UK, which is encouraging its members to sign the covenant and is sharing within the sector the approaches different universities have taken to enact it.
Alistair Jarvis, Chief Executive of Universities UK said: “We believe anyone with the desire and potential to succeed at university should have the opportunity to do so. The Armed Forces Covenant helps universities to ensure armed forces personnel, veterans and their families face no disadvantage as a result of their service.
“This initiative from the University of Bristol is a fantastic example of how higher education providers can facilitate opportunities for a group whose specific challenges are often overlooked, while making a meaningful impact in their local community and wider society.”
It follows a call from the Department of Education earlier this year for universities to do more to support forces veterans and the children of service men and women who have lost their lives during duty.
Professor Hugh Brady, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bristol, said: “We’re tremendously proud to support armed forces personnel and veterans in this way. As part of our commitment to be a civic university, we have a responsibility to support everyone living in Bristol and our neighbouring communities.
“Through signing this covenant and pledging our ongoing support, we hope to help veterans readjust to civilian life after they’ve provided such an important service to our country.”
Jon Beake, Senior Regional Employer Engagement Director at the Ministry of Defence, said: “Many veterans face challenges adjusting to civilian life as a direct, or indirect, result of their service to our country. The Armed Forces Covenant is a pledge of support that is critical to the wellbeing of Defence personnel.
“We are delighted the Law Clinic is realising the University of Bristol’s pledge with an initiative that will empower veterans to gain access to the same legal support they need as any other citizen while they adjust to life after the forces.”
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