Salvation Army steps in after Petersfield Job Centre shuts

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Friday 7th June 2019 1:45 pm
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Damian Hinds MP (centre) with Captain Read, Rebecca Keating and Major Morgan of the Salvation Army. ()

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AFTER Petersfield Job Centre closed, the Salvation Army began helping people get job ready, find a job and stay in work .

The Employment Plus programme is run by trained Salvation Army (SA) volunteers in the hall at their community church in Swan Street.

Petersfield SA Captain Linda Read said: “When the Job Centre closed last year, we were worried there wouldn’t be anywhere for local people to go, so we opened our employment programme.

“And we quickly found there was a need for it.

“This can appear quite an affluent town, but there are pockets of poverty and people can slip through the cracks.

“At our weekly drop-in, people get a personal service, with tailored advice from our four volunteers to help them find work.”

Volunteer Carole said: “We make people feel welcome no matter what skills they have or what they need. There’s always tea or coffee, and sometimes cake. There’s no criteria, and people can take their time so they get the best chance for finding work.”

Last Friday, East Hampshire MP and secretary of state for education Damian Hinds met Capt Read and the volunteers to discuss the programme, which includes computer training and help with application forms and CVs, and the chance to study and gain qualifications.

He said: “The church hall is uniquely placed to offer this vital service, and I was impressed by the professionalism yet how personal the approach is to people looking for work, and it was great to hear the success stories.”

Brian, who had been unemployed, said: “Before this I had to go to Havant or get two buses to Bordon. The support here is great, and now I’ve got a part-time job.”

Employment Plus SA director Rebecca Keating said: “It was a pleasure to show Mr Hinds how we can help local unemployed people find work. They need access to the right support when they need it, but we know unfortunately not everyone is able to do this. This is why investment in skills training needs to be a priority for government and local authorities to help everyone who needs support access it to help them find work.”

The SA community church also runs a food bank and supports people experiencing homelessness in the area with a drop-in breakfast service.

For more information, visit the website www.

salvationarmy.org.uk/petersfield