The Speakeasy offers independent and expert advice, free of charge. We can help with a range of issues including debt, housing and welfare benefits. Our drop-in advice clinics are open to anyone living or working in Cardiff.
At the Speakeasy we're passionate about helping people get access to justice. For some people that means processing their application for a Debt Relief Order. For others it means liaising with a local authority to prevent an unnecessary eviction. For some extremely vulnerable people, it means representing them at tribunal to overturn an unfair decision.
Our team of solicitors and advisers are all experts in their field, ensuring that we can help with the most complex of problems.
We're the only non-profit in Wales to offer training contracts to those pursuing a career in social welfare law and we've received several awards for our innovative work.
In addition we hold the Legal Aid Agency Specialist Quality Mark so you can be confident that our service is well run and provides excellent client care.
When we called Jane we found that she had self-disconnected because she had built up standing charge debt on her gas pre-payment meter over the summer. This meant that 90% of each top-up was swallowed by her debt. She couldn't afford to top up her meter at the best of times, let alone when putting money on her meter didn't give her any gas.
We arranged for her ‘front screen’ debt to be removed so that she could pay it back at an affordable rate. This made it much easier for her to afford to top up her gas meter again.
Once she was reconnected, we gave Jane energy efficiency advice to help her reduce her usage, helped her to sign up for the Warm Home Discount to get £140 off her electricity bill and gave her a welfare benefit entitlement check. This check identified that she could be entitled to additional benefits due to her ill health. Jane applied for her full entitlement and her income was increased by £61.85 per week. She also received a back-payment of around £3,700 for the period where she should have been receiving the additional financial support, leaving Jane with a lump sum to buy non-essential items for the first time in years.
With our help, Jane can now afford to heat her home and understands how to make the most of the energy she uses. By helping her achieve a more stable position, we hope she won't have to go without heating for another winter.
Jamal came to one of our housing clinics for some advice on an issue with his previous landlord. Jamal was a student and shared a house with 5 other people.
At the end of their tenancy they received a bill for disrepair and cleaning. Because they disagreed with several items on the bill, they contacted the Tenancy Deposit Scheme and asked to use the Alternative Dispute Resolution Service to challenge the amount being deducted from their deposit.
They then realised that the landlord had not secured the full amount of the deposit, despite being legally required to do so. We contacted the landlord on Jamal’s behalf to try to resolve the issue, but he would not budge and continued to withhold more than £1,000 of the deposit.
We advised Jamal on the court process and on what evidence he should put forward. Jamal then made a claim in the County Court and won. He and his housemates were awarded compensation equating to twice the original deposit, plus 5% interest for the period when the deposit was withheld.
The rest of the house are absolutely delighted. We are so grateful for all the time you spent helping us and for all your advice and support. I really do not know what we would have done without your help!