North Kensington Law Centre, widely praised for its efforts to help victims of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, and human rights organisation Liberty are among 15 organisations helping to build the next generation of social welfare lawyers.

The Legal Education Foundation, a grant-giving charity established when the College of Law became a university, is funding 15 trainee solicitor posts as part of its Justice First Fellowship scheme, established in 2014.

The foundation's chief executive, Matthew Smerdon, said: 'Four years in, and the [scheme] is building exactly the kind of momentum in the sector that we were hoping for.'

Following the latest recruitment round, Smerdon says there will be 50 solicitor and barrister fellows. 'Their work is starting to make a significant difference to their communities and the social welfare law sector, which has been under sustained pressure over many years,' he said.

Part of the fellowship involves responsibility for an individual project aimed at increasing access to justice. Sophie Earnshaw, who secured a contract at Child Poverty Action Group in 2015, developed online support to help people representing themselves at Upper Tribunal social security appeals to get a fair hearing.

Organisations that take on trainees are given funding over the two years to cover salary, supervision and training costs. In some cases, part of the grant is contributed via co-funding support from grant-making trusts and sponsor companies.    

This year's host organisations are: Brighton Housing Trust; Coram Children's Legal Centre; Deighton Pierce Glynn; Derbyshire Law Centre; Govan Law Centre; Greater Manchester Law Centre; Hackney Community Law Centre; Just for Kids Law; Legal Advice Centre (University House); Liberty; Mary Ward Legal Centre; Migrant and Refugee Children's Legal Unit; Minton Morrill Solicitors; North Kensington Law Centre; and Speakeasy Advice Centre.

BBC Children in Need is providing £150,000 towards the contracts at Just for Kids Law, Coram Children's Legal Centre, and Migrant and Refugee Children's Legal Unit.

City Bridge Trust will provide £160,000 for the posts at North Kensington Law Centre, Hackney Community Law Centre and the Legal Advice Centre (University House).

Magic circle firm Linklaters is contributing £40,000 towards the training contract at Mary Ward Centre. AB Charitable Trust is providing £80,000 for the Liberty training contract. RBS is contributing towards the costs of the training contract at Govan Law Centre. 

Applications close on 18 September. Successful candidates will begin their contracts in January.