A SOCIAL enterprise is fighting the corner for people up and down the country who are involved in civil disputes.
Fightback4Justice, based in Chorley New Road, helps people appeal against government and legal decisions and offers them personal support.
The organisation was founded in January last year by Michelle Cardno, a law graduate who has previously worked for the Citizens Advice Bureau.
It has supported people in Liverpool, Bradford and Peterborough among others and helped more than 1,000 people overturn legal decisions, including clients in Northern Ireland.
It also has more than 10,000 ‘likes’ on Facebook and an online readership of about 100,000.
Miss Cardno visits people with physical and mental disabilities, helping them with a variety of legal matters, from benefit applications to bailiffs to disputes with landlords.
Miss Cardno, who lives in Radcliffe, said: “A lot of people who are involved in disputes don’t know their legal rights and don’t know where to turn. We are here to show people that they’re not alone — there is support out there for them.
“We get hundreds of messages a day from people needing our help — it’s become a bit of a community. I’m really happy with what we’ve achieved so far. There’s a massive need for this kind of service.”
One of the people whose life has been turned around by Fightback4Justice is June Guest.
Miss Guest, aged 52, of Orrell, Wigan, suffers from spinal and knee problems and has osteoarthritis in her feet and has to use a mobility scooter.
When visited by an assessor from the Department for Work and Pensions last year, Miss Guest had her Disability Living Allowance (DLA) removed.
But with the help of Fightback4Justice, Miss Guest was able to win back her DLA.
She said: “When I was told I was having my benefits taken away, I was really down — I even thought of suicide.
“But then I heard about Fightback4Justice through a friend and got in touch with Michelle — she was my only help. I’m grateful to her — not only has she saved my life, she’s helped me to live my life.”
Another supporter of Miss Cardno’s organisation is Yasmin Qureshi, MP for Bolton South East.
Ms Qureshi has held meetings with Miss Cardno and they are hoping to open an advice surgery for people involved in welfare disputes.
Ms Qureshi said: “Michelle’s doing sterling work — she is just brilliant. The disabled seem to get such harsh treatment and that’s why Michelle’s knowledge of the law is needed. People need this kind of help.”