John Nicholson would probably argue he is not worthy of the (admittedly minor!) accolade of being mentioned in this column. I suspect that he would argue that the establishment of the Greater Manchester Law Centre (see page 5
) has been down to a collective effort. But it is due in large part to this determined and indefatigable campaigner that the venture has got off the ground.
In the space of a few short years, Greater Manchester, due to legal aid and other spending cuts, went from being served by nine centres to just two, Bury and Rochdale. Drastic funding cuts at Manchester City Council had also led to big reductions in funding for the not-for-profit advice sector. Despite some success in economic regeneration, the city still faces severe problems of poverty in areas like Moss Side, home to the new Law Centre.
It was at Bury Law Centre, where he worked as the practice manager, that Nicholson decided to embark on a career in law. He was called to the Bar in 2004 and is currently at Kenworthy’s Chambers in Manchester, specialising in immigration and asylum work.
Prior to joining Bury Law Centre, he worked in senior management roles at charities and helped develop the George House Trust, a regional charity that assists people affected by HIV. He is also a former deputy leader of Manchester City Council.
In what are grim times for social welfare law services, Nicholson embodies the combination of legal and community organising skills that are a big part of the history and, hopefully, future of the Law Centre movement.