Monthly Archives: March 2016


Peter Medd

Peter Medd

Redcar-based Cygnet Law has demonstrated its commitment to supporting the local community by providing more than 500 hours of free legal advice in the last year.

Cygnet, which specialises in family law, mental health, conveyancing and wills and probate, provides a wide range of pro bono support encompassing charities, individuals and education projects.

This includes working closely with local charity EVA, which supports the victims of domestic violence, by hosting fortnightly advice drop-in surgeries where they offer free legal advice to those requiring support.

The law firm also is involved in Teesside University law clinics, which are student-led drop-in sessions, where the public can get advice on matters including divorce, adoption and domestic violence. The sessions are delivered by the University’s law undergraduates with professional support from experienced lawyers.

On top of the pre-planned pro bono work, the community-focused law firm offers frequent advice to a number of charities such as women’s centre My Sisters Place, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender charity Hart Gables, domestic violence service Foundation Refuge, forced-marriage charity HALO and social housing scheme New Walk.

Also, all potential clients of Cygnet are given a free 30 minute appointment where they are provided with initial legal advice regarding their case.

Peter Medd, Founder and Director of Cygnet Law, said: “We believe, as a Redcar-based practice, we have a social responsibility to support the surrounding community as we understand funding can be tight for charities, especially local ones, so anything we do to help, we find, is always greatly appreciated.

“We strongly believe that people, whatever their circumstances, should be able to access legal services and this is reflected by our pro bono ethos.”


L to R: Stacey Pheonix with Anna Turley MP

L to R: Stacey Pheonix with Anna Turley MP

The Inspiring Women awards ceremony last weekend concluded a programme of activities recognising the outstanding effort of women in Redcar and Cleveland.

The ceremony took place on Saturday, March 12 and saw the following winners take home their prizes: Emma Thomas for individual achievement, Helen Anderson for individual progress, Dot Ahmed for volunteering, Stacey Phoenix for community contribution, Ruth Fox for innovation, Irene Pointer for inspiring others, and Caitlyn Manley for being an inspiring young woman.

The overall winner, Stacey Phoenix, also took home the Mo Mowlam Award which recognised the significant impact on the local community she has made by dedicating a substantial amount of her own time to provide help and support to vulnerable people.

The ceremony followed a week-long programme which was in response to a call sent out across the borough by Redcar’s MP Anna Turley seeking ideas to recognise the late MP Mo Mowlam.

Work experience and work shadowing opportunities for girls in school years 10, 11 and 12 were organised which coincided with International Women’s Day on Tuesday, March 8.

Other activities included Operation X, hosted by the RAF, which saw over 350 students working together in small groups to participate in problem solving tasks enabling them to examine the qualities needed for professions within the RAF as well as other occupational areas requiring these skills within the world of work.

Flight Lieutenant Dan Jones from RAF Careers Newcastle said: “My team were so impressed with the level of enthusiasm from the pupils and the teachers across Redcar and Cleveland, there were certainly some aspiring pilots, logisticians and engineering apprentices amongst the girls, we hope that we inspired them to seek their goal.”

A ‘Women in Politics’ lecture for A Level Politics students was hosted by Anna Turley MP, and a talk at Kirkleatham Museum about the life and exploration of Gertrude Bell was held by Gordon Hetherington during the week.

Anna Turley, MP for Redcar, said: “It was an honour and a privilege to present the Inspiring Women awards to some amazing women who have achieved so much for their communities and improved the lives of others.

“The Mo Mowlam award was very well deserved by Stacey for her work supporting vulnerable women and the LGBT community through her legal advocacy and campaigning work.

“I am incredibly proud of all the winners and the nominees who make our Borough extremely proud.

“The awards brought a fantastic week of events, working with our young people, to a close. I enjoyed working with Emily, and Lucy who shadowed me for a day, and I hope the week inspired the girls and their peers to strive for the best in their own lives and to use their skills to help others.

“A huge thanks go to all those who brought the Inspiring Women project together, particularly the Royal Air Force for supporting the project and putting on some great events in our schools.”

Stacey Phoenix, a solicitor at Redcar-based Cygnet Family, which specialises in family law, mental health, conveyancing and wills and probate, said: “It is a real honour to have won the Contribution to the Community accolade, which also is testament to the support that I have from my employers that enables me to become involved in supporting charities and other worthwhile causes in the community.

“To also be named the overall winner and be presented with the Mo Mowlam award was both overwhelming and humbling as there were so many other outstanding and inspirational women at the ceremony.

“I am really proud to be from and to work in Redcar and Cleveland.”

Cllr Sue Jeffrey, Leader of Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council said: “Inspiring the next generation of women is so important, and I am so pleased we had Year 10, 11 and 12 pupils work shadowing us.

“I was delighted to have rounded off the week’s events by presenting the award for the Inspirational Young Woman, which Caitlyn thoroughly deserves.”

Cllr Brenda Forster, Mayor of Redcar and Cleveland said: “We have some incredibly inspiring women in our borough and I am so proud we have honoured them with these awards.”


Some of the Cygnet Law staff who took part in the Everest challenge: l-r  Amy Drinkhall, Kira Reece, Alistair Nixon, Rebecca Fox, Stacey Turnbull, and Kirsty Jackson

Some of the Cygnet Law staff who took part in the Everest challenge: l-r Amy Drinkhall, Kira Reece, Alistair Nixon, Rebecca Fox, Stacey Turnbull, and Kirsty Jackson

Cygnet Law, a leading Redcar-based legal firm, has been awarded a coveted Bronze Better Health at Work Award.

The firm worked hard throughout 2015 to secure the independent accreditation under a scheme supported by the NHS, which recognises and celebrates the commitment of organisations that are improving the health of their employees.

Cygnet Law received acknowledgement for taking part in three main health awareness campaigns and healthy activities during the year.

These included ‘Healthy Eating’ as part of National Heart Month and British Heart Foundation Day when staff all showed their support by wearing red – and advice leaflets were put on display.

Employees also took part in a ‘Climb Everest’ challenge where when they climbed a total of 58,174 steps which is comparable to scaling the 8,448m height of the mountain.

To complete the challenge, each member of staff taking part had to climb the reception stairs six times every weekday during a month.

As climbing stairs burns around a fifth of a calorie per step that meant the employees burnt more than 11,000 calories between them.

Peter Medd, a Director of Cygnet Law, which specialises in family law, mental health, conveyancing and wills and probate, said: “Staff are every firm’s lifeblood and healthy and productive employees are important to the success of a business.

“I am proud to say that the ethos of ‘caring about our workers’ wellbeing is embedded within the company so we are delighted to receive independent validation of the Bronze award for our efforts to foster a healthier workplace.

“These awards are enormously important for all employers and really help to focus the mind on what’s important in the modern-day workplace.”

At the start of the Better Health at Work campaign, staff completed a health needs assessment and some of the subsequent initiatives were based on the results of the survey.

Other initiatives included a memo sent to all members of staff offering support for anyone requiring advice about mental health and explaining who they should contact.

A Quality Procedures Manual also sets out the firm’s policy in relation to staff mental wellbeing.

In addition, information leaflets were available in relation to cancer and alcohol awareness.

Also all staff are given a Display Screen Equipment (DSE) work station assessment at the start of their employment to ensure that they adhere to the ideal seated position.

Peter Medd added: “As well as having an impact on staff morale and sickness levels, the initiatives put in place will benefit our employees’ general welfare and quality of life outside work.

“We intend to continue the focus on nurturing a health orientated workplace and hope to secure further Better Health at Work awards in the future.”

For more information about the Better Health at Work Awards, visit: