December 1, 2020

Volunteer legal advisor recognised

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L-R: Legal Befrienders Zena Merren, Vanessa Brooks and Bonnie Gerow pictured with Sharla Barnes - recipient of first Lee A. Freeman Service Award

Sharla Barnes is the first recipient of the Legal Befrienders programme’s Lee A. Freeman Service Award for compassion and generosity to those in need. This is a Family Resource Centre (FRC) initiative created to honour Lee A. Freeman’s life.

A paralegal with Priesley’s law firm, Ms. Barnes was recognised as the Legal Befriender who demonstrated the highest level of dedication and selflessness – in keeping with the standards set by the late Mr. Freeman.

Legal Befrienders is a programme that enables qualified attorneys to assist the local community by giving free and confidential legal advice to those who need it most.

Ms. Barnes donates several hours each month to assist in providing free legal guidance to men and women. After the recent passing of dedicated volunteer attorney Lee A. Freeman, the FRC created this recognition in his honour.

Acknowledging the importance of recognising volunteers’ hard work and commitment, FRC’s Acting Programme Coordinator Miriam Foster said this annual award also allows Mr. Freeman’s legacy to live on and inspire others.

“Lee gave his time generously and with compassion. Sharla is equally-dedicated, and was also a dear friend of Lee’s,” said Ms. Foster. “Her selection was unanimous. She embodies the qualities of a model volunteer and we are grateful for her involvement.”

Minister of Community Affairs, Gender and Housing, the Hon. Mike Adam, MBE, JP also thanked Ms. Barnes, and all FRC volunteers, for their “commitment to a cause that brings light to an otherwise dark time in people’s lives.”

Legal Befrienders began in 1999 as a service to domestic violence victims, but due to the lack of any service like this Cayman, it expanded to offer advice in all areas of the law. It is one of the most accessed services that FRC coordinates.  The dedicated lawyers and lay volunteers manage the walk-in clinics on Tuesdays from 5:00pm to 6:30pm; and the phone-line service on Fridays from 2:00 to 5:00pm on 945-8869. Contact the Family Resource Centre at 949-0006 or email [email protected] for more information on this service or how you can
get involved.

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