Published on Friday 01, October 2021
Members to vote on merger of Flemington Kensington Community Legal Centre and Inner Melbourne Community Legal in November 2021
All members of Flemington Kensington Community Legal Centre (FKCLC) and Inner Melbourne Community Legal (IMCL) will get to have their say this November on whether the two Community Legal Centres (CLCs) should merge.
Both organisations serve the Flemington and Kensington community, while IMCL also supports the broader City of Melbourne community.
As members approach this important decision, it is clear that while both CLCs have their own unique histories, we share many commonalities. The values and cultures of both our organisations are driven by a vision of community justice where every person has access to legal support and is subject to fair laws and policing.
Both our organisations prioritise working with the most vulnerable members of our community, including people experiencing homelessness, public housing residents, young people, members of culturally and linguistically diverse communities, people with disability and people experiencing mental ill-health.
Recent history has shown first hand the benefits of working together to fight for justice. Last year our organisation united as local residents in public housing towers were forced into hard lockdown by the Victorian Government. Together we worked side by side to form part of the frontline response, ensuring residents had the advice and practical support they needed during that extraordinarily distressing time.
The Boards of both FKCLC and IMCL are proud of the record of collaboration between the two organisations, on the public housing tower response and beyond, and believe that a merger will collectively enable us to better service the local community - through core legal services, health justice partnerships, community legal education, and policy advocacy.
This is supported by the extensive research and analysis that the Boards have undertaken over the past three years. A merged organisation will have greater resources to support more people, as well as a more diverse set of skills and experiences and stronger systems and support services than they alone currently can access.
Evidence from previous mergers of Victorian CLCs demonstrates these benefits. The current Fitzroy Legal Service emerged from a successful merger between Fitzroy Legal Service and the Darebin Community Legal Centre in 2019. Since merging, Fitzroy Legal Service has secured more funding, grown its team and expanded its array of advocacy and legal support services that it provides to the local community.
For these reasons, the Boards of IMCL and FKCLC recommend to members that they vote 'yes' on the merger in November 2021.
Over the coming months, we will reach out to members individually to discuss the proposed merger and answer any questions our members may have. We will also host a Members Q&A forum prior to the vote. We encourage all members to get in touch with Damian Stock at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0404 034 069 with any questions.
Caroline Evans Joel Townsend
Chair, IMCL Chair, FKCLC