Last week, the two charities I support most, as a result of personal experience and my work with my clients, Headway (the Brain Injury Association) and SIA (Spinal Injuries Association) had annual events taking place.

Last week was Action for Brain Injury Week, culminating in Hats for Headway Day on Friday.  This is an opportunity to raise awareness and to fundraise for a really worthwhile charity.  Headway, the Brain Injury Association, is a national charity supporting survivors who have sustained brain injuries as well as their families.  It has 125 groups and branches across the UK, which in turn provide support, services and information.  Headway’s frontline services also include a free helpline, the brain injury identity card (to assist in everyday situations) and Headway Acute Trauma Support (HATS) nurses who assist families during a patient’s acute treatment.  Information includes a variety of leaflets and booklets on aspects of brain injury and its implications, as well as a directory of approved rehabilitation units, respite facilities and residential homes.

Headway also maintain an approved Headway Solicitor’s Directory of solicitors and law firms with the requisite experience, who have all agreed to work within Headway’s personal injury lawyers’ code of conduct.

Friday was also Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Day, raising awareness of the 50,000 or more people living with spinal cord injury in the UK and Ireland, many of whom have suffered brain injuries as well.  It is a harsh reminder that such injuries can happen to anyone, at any time.  According to the SIA, recent research suggests that every 8 hours someone in the UK sustains a spinal cord injury.  The focus of the day, however, is to demonstrate how worthwhile and ful­fill­ing life can still be after such a life-changing injury.

Five charities, Aspire, Backup, SIA, Spinal Research and Spinal Injuries Scotland have all come together with the support of their ambassadors, Steve Bram and Lucy Shuker for this national event.

In the autumn, my colleagues and I will attend the very worthwhile SIA solicitors’ training day to ensure our knowledge of the latest developments and issues affecting our clients is up-to-date.

Meanwhile, for spinal cord injury awareness day, I will be doing my bit once again this year when I host my fourth annual fish ‘n’ chip supper in aid of the SIA.  The event is a little later this year, no doubt due to the royal wedding celebrations, and so we are hoping for a warmer evening in a couple of weeks’ time.  Invitations have been sent out, the balloons and banners have been ordered from SIA and I am looking forward to a relaxing evening of fund raising and catching up with a dozen or so old and new friends.  A gourmet supper will be provided courtesy of our local chippy, followed by homemade Eton mess and washed down with one or two bottles of prosecco.  Bliss!

* Disclaimer: The information on the Anthony Gold website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. It is provided without any representations or warranties, express or implied.*

The London Legal Walk – why we walk?

Monday, 21 May 2018 will see the Lord Chief Justice and thousands of people taking part in the 10km London Legal Walk to raise money for The London Legal Support Trust. The charity works diligently to raise money for free legal advice centres in London and the South East, including law centres, advice agencies and citizens advice bureaux.

The London Legal Walk is organised by The London Legal Support Trust as one of their big fundraising events of the year. Year on year donations have increased, from £391,000 in 2008 to a record £800,000 last year. Without such donations, many of these free advice centres would be unable to function, leaving many without access to justice.

The government cutbacks of legal aid in 2013, have meant that public funding is now generally unavailable for most civil cases. This has meant that many more people are seeking the assistance of free legal advice centres, who themselves are receiving less funding. Therefore events such as this are a prime opportunity to raise much needed funds.

Having volunteered with the citizens advice bureau myself, I can confidently state that they and the other charities that either give or host free legal advice services provide an integral facility to those in need within our communities. This includes for instance those living with a disability or illness who need assistance or those facing homelessness, or living in awful housing conditions.

The reality is that anyone can find themselves in a situation where they require urgent legal advice. Our legal system is held in high esteem throughout the world, with the rule of law being a key principle. Therefore there should be access to justice for all, not only those who can afford to pay legal fees.

The majority of those that take part in the event work within the legal community including judges and lawyers, but the event is open to anyone who is interested in preserving access to justice.

Please support us in raising money for a fantastic and vital cause. Our team’s fundraising page is:

* Disclaimer: The information on the Anthony Gold website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. It is provided without any representations or warranties, express or implied.*

Tis the season for giving back

Christmas is the season of joy for many, but for those less fortunate the festive season can be one of sadness and fraught with difficulties.

There is no better time than Christmas to take the opportunity to help those who need it most and at Anthony Gold we are proud to have taken part in a number of local initiatives to help those in need locally to our offices and also further afield.

Wrap Up London

Earlier in November, staff from each of our offices kindly donated several bags full of second hand coats for the Wrap Up London campaign and hand delivered these to the volunteers based at London Bridge station – so many bags, it needed two members of staff to carry them all! Doing our bit to help keep Londoners warm this winter.

Community Christmas

In keeping with the spirit of giving, we also took part in the Team London Bridge Community Christmas Campaign. Over 50 gifts were donated across our three offices, and delivered to Team London Bridge offices on 5 December for wrapping and donating to local residents via a number of local charities, being Bede House, Manna Centre, Stones End Day Centre, South London Cares, CoolTan Arts, Time and Talents, Beormund Centre, Camberwell After School Project, Riverside Parents and Carers Association, Look Ahead Southwark Young People Service, Salmon Youth Centre, South London Mission and Oasis Waterloo.  We were overwhelmed with the number of amazing gifts donated by our staff, which will go a long way towards making someone’s Christmas that little bit more enjoyable. One member of staff also went above and beyond to purchase a number of items which had been specifically requested by local charity South London Cares as part of the A Really Happy Christmas campaign. South London Cares is a community network that connects older neighbours in Southwark and Lambeth with younger professionals who help to support them. They requested brand new thermal slippers, blankets, and flasks for their Winter Wellbeing project, which our member of staff kindly purchased, much to the charity’s delight. The Team London Bridge Community Christmas Campaign was their most successful yet, with the focus on quality over quantity, yet also seeing over 1700 presents donated, and we look forward to become more involved in this campaign in future years.

Save the Children Christmas Jumper Day

On Friday 15 December 2017 we held our last national charity day fundraiser of the year in the office, proudly taking part in the Save the Children Christmas Jumper Day campaign to help save children’s lives. The money raised could help give a child living in a refugee camp clothes to keep them warm through winter, buy nutritious food and safe drinking water for a family, or set up a safe space for children caught up in disaster. It is a very worthwhile case, and we made a real difference just by wearing silly jumpers and getting in the festive spirit in advance of our Christmas party! We are still counting the final amounts raised but have so far raised just over £277.

Christmas Carols with the Robert Poulton Foundation

And lastly, on Tuesday 19 December 2017 the Anthony Gold choir joined forces with singers from the Robert Poulton Foundation to perform everyone’s favourite Christmas carols in Hays Galleria during their lunch break. The Robert Poulton Foundation was set up by Phillipa Poulton in memory of her late husband who sadly died following a car crash in 2012. Anthony Gold became involved with the Foundation following the successful completion of a personal injury claim by Jenny Kennedy and her team. The firm has raised money for this charity ever since, through various events, and we enjoy getting together at Christmas to sing carols for such a good cause. We raised over £140 this year, not bad for spending an hour singing during lunch, and a fabulous time was had by all involved, tempting the crowds away from their last minute Christmas shopping to enjoy the performance.

This was a great way to end the year, and we are already looking forward to our calendar of CSR events lined up for 2018 – watch this space!

* Disclaimer: The information on the Anthony Gold website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. It is provided without any representations or warranties, express or implied.*

Walking on broken glass

On Wednesday 22 November 2017 a dedicated team of Anthony Gold volunteers (Sana Bibi, Alex Giles, Aveel John, Elaine O’Connor, Laura Christodoulou, Sophie Bullimore, Natasha Barham and Tom Dickinson) took part in yet another fundraising challenge for Headway East London. Following last year’s success of hot stepping across fire, and in true survival spirit, it was time for the next challenge…walking barefoot across 4m of broken glass!

Our glass walkers braved the sharp edges of broken glass to raise much needed funds for those much braver than us all – those affected by acquired brain injuries who conquer their own challenges daily. Headway East London currently provides specialist and personalised support and services for over 200 survivors, their family, friends and carers in the local area each week, and is a charity we have supported closely for many years.

The nerves were building on the day, with people asking whether we would get shards of glass stuck in our feet or whether a visit to A & E would be on the cards. However after a brilliant training session at Holborn Studios to build our confidence and conquer our fears, followed by a very enjoyable team building warm up of funky dance moves, games of ping-pong, and even learning how to break a wooden board with our bare hands, our confidence was high and it was time to walk over the broken glass. The sound of glass breaking under our feet rang loudly but no one faltered, everyone making it to the finish line without an injury in sight!

We are pleased to say that we have raised almost £2,000, which is the cost of an annual membership at Headway East London. Many thanks to all those who have generously donated.  If anyone would still like to donate, please visit the following link:

Our special thanks to our expert trainer Steve at Holborn Studios for keeping us all out of harm’s way and to Rosy of Headway East London for organising the event. A special thanks also goes out to Amy Wedgwood at Anthony Gold for encouraging us all to be a part of this unforgettable night and to conquer our fears.

We nervously await what’s in store for us all next year!

Glass Walking Headway ELGlass Walking Sana Bibi

Engaging in pro bono work is good for your wellbeing

There is little need to rehearse the reasons behind why engaging in pro bono work is an excellent way of giving back to the community, through the utilisation of our very special skill set (as lawyers) to benefit usually those most in need of assistance and the protection of the law. My case for engaging in pro bono work today is focused slightly differently, however, and it is to consider how doing pro bono work might actually be good for oneself too, for one’s own mental wellbeing.

So, what is wellbeing? Well, unless you have made a concerted effort to completely avoid popular culture in the past few years, you will undoubtedly be familiar if not au fait with this concept of “wellbeing”, where it is difficult to miss the innumerable blogs, articles, self-help books, television programmes focused on it. If you’ve missed it, wellbeing means different things to different people though, in general terms, it is all about how we feel and think about ourselves, the relationships that we have with others and our individual sense of purpose, belonging and meaning in the world. In a Law Society article last year written for World Mental Health Day, it was suggested that we could do five things to improve our wellbeing: connect, be active, keep learning, give to others and be mindful.

So, why then, one might reasonably question, would adding additional work for myself by agreeing to do some form of pro bono activity be good for my mental health? Well, as we have identified above, giving to others and to challenge oneself/keep learning are two of the key factors in nourishing or developing a happy, centred and “well” being. I believe that pro bono work firmly ticks both of those boxes, where engaging in pro bono activity is the giving to others of one’s time to provide free of charge advice, sometimes in slightly unfamiliar areas of law and policy and with challenging clients, requiring one to continuously keep learning.

Every time I finish work at the pro bono legal advice clinic I volunteer at, Centre 70, I am filled with a sense of achievement and purpose. Though sometimes mixed with feelings of frustration at the dismantling of the welfare state and the restrictions on access to justice that this creates and perpetuates(!), assisting individuals (usually vulnerable ones) who have no other avenue for accessing justice is extremely rewarding. Additionally, attending this legal advice clinic on a Monday evening, where I have no idea what advice my client will be seeking and where you have a very limited time to deal with each client and their issues, has necessitated me to learn on the job. Providing pro bono advice is a challenge, though an invigorating one. Recently I was speaking with a barrister who told me that the pro bono case that he was working on was by far the most important case to him and the one he cared about the most, as it made him feel like he was using his skills to really help someone and that it was rewarding; I have had similar conversations with many other people choosing to partake in this work.

So if you are thinking that you might quite like to do some volunteering at a legal advice centre or joining your firm’s pro bono clinic, but that you are too busy to do it now, maybe think again. Would making some time for this actually make you feel less stressed and busy? By taking some time out of work to meet new people, challenge yourself and give to others your time and sought after skills, you might actually feel better and, possibly counter-intuitively, less stressed and busy.

As lawyers our jobs are highly stressful; time pressured; must be, by necessity, a high priority in our lives and can often require long working hours: it is important to remember in all of this that looking after one’s mental and physical health must also be a priority and not a secondary consideration. The point is not to put extra pressure on oneself to try and do more and achieve more, but to recognise that engaging in different activities outside of work can actually be good for you and may actually improve your own ability to cope with the extremely busy and stressful job you have. If that activity comes in the form of using your legal skills to help others, which only lawyers can do, then why not?

* Disclaimer: The information on the Anthony Gold website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. It is provided without any representations or warranties, express or implied.*

Anthony Gold Hosts their own Macmillan Big Coffee Morning 2017

On Friday 29 September, we took part in the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning to raise much needed funds for Macmillan, a charity dedicated to providing medical, emotional, practical and financial support for all those affected by Cancer. It is a fantastic national event to support and of personal importance to those working here at Anthony Gold.

To raise funds we held a bake sale across our three offices and set up a stall in the downstairs lobby of The Counting House to sell our goodies to all those entering and leaving the building. The stall was run by our dedicated CSR team and was a great opportunity to meet those working on neighboring floors.

In keeping with Macmillan’s theme for 2017, we had a “Guess the height of the Cake” competition, as well as a firm wide prize for most impressive cake, to spark some friendly competition! Photos of the winning cakes are below.

Due to the generosity, talents and sweet teeth of all those that took part we are very proud to have raised in excess of £250 for such a worthy cause!

All in all, this fundraising event was definitely a sweet success!

* Disclaimer: The information on the Anthony Gold website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. It is provided without any representations or warranties, express or implied.*


Macmillian Big Coffee Morning 2017

Macmillan Big Coffee MorningMacmillan Coffee Morning Sarah Hughes

Headway East London update

An amazing £1,450  was raised this year from the annual Headway East London/Anthony Gold quiz night.    Despite my extensive knowledge of George Michael’s back catalogue and 1980s fashion I still didn’t find myself on the winning table. I have a plan for next year that involves sitting on the Headway East London table as that’s clearly where the talent is.

This month’s Supper Club – Headway Eats is happening on Friday 14 July. I can’t recommend it highly enough and where else will you get a superb three-course meal in Shoreditch, with entertainment all for £15?

There are so many things happening a Headway East London this year to celebrate 20 years since they first opened their doors.

If you would like to be involved and to help raise funds by dancing, swimming, running, or (like me) eating for charity, then please take a look at their website.  As well as giving details about getting involved, the website has very useful sections about the services Headway East London offers to brain injury survivors, their families and carers.

There is also information about how to be referred to access those services, click here.

* Disclaimer: The information on the Anthony Gold website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. It is provided without any representations or warranties, express or implied.*

Walking on hot coals for Headway East London

On 9 November 2016 team Anthony Gold will be walking on hot coals to raise money for Headway East London (‘HEL’  – pun fully intended in relation to this particular event).

When HEL told me about this challenge I thought I might struggle to find colleagues brave enough to get involved. How wrong I was!  Apparently, this is something that lots of people ‘have always wanted to do’.   I’ve decided that the people I work with must be an incredibly brave bunch.

My plan was to get a team together and then to organise, arrange and most importantly encourage them as they took their turn walking over the hot coals.  It seems I was wrong again. The second most common comment I received was ‘I will do it, if you do!’.

As a big fan of Headway East London and all that the members and staff do every day to support people living with acquired brain injury across 13 London boroughs what could I say?

Headway East London provide therapies, advocacy, family support and community support work alongside their day service: a community venue where members can make the most of their abilities and interests. Their occupational projects include an art studio, writing projects and a professional kitchen where members cook each day for other members, volunteers, staff and visitors.

Anthony Gold Solicitors sponsor Headway East London’s monthly supper club.  The Hackney Gazette and The Evening Standard have both recently published great articles about the event  that you can read here.  I highly recommend the supper clubs – it’s a great evening and the food is outstanding. If you would like tickets to the next one please let me know.

Be one of the first to get tickets for the next event (they usually sell out quickly)

Walking on hot coals is not something that I have always wanted to do at all but the people I know who have acquired brain injury didn’t have such a choice to make.    Please contact me for more details if you would like to sponsor me to do this – or if perhaps you would like to sponsor me not to do it that would be most appreciated as well.