[Image from left to right: Stephanie Phillips - Darbyshire House Manager, Mo - service user, Doug Harrison, Councillor Lana Orr and Stephen, service user]
An innovative employment service, run by The Salvation Army, which aims to give local job seekers the support and skills to transform their lives, welcomed Councillor Lana Orr, Liverpool City Council Cabinet Member for Skills and Employment.
Councillor Lana Orr praised the church and charity’s people centred approach which is making a difference to local people.
Councillor Lana Orr, said:
“The employment service based at Darbyshire House Lifehouse in Liverpool is a great initiative which is clearly making a difference to the local community. It’s been fantastic to visit today and meet some of the service users.
“I had no idea The Salvation Army operated this kind of service. As cabinet member for Skills and Employment I understand the value of working with the third sector in this way and would love to explore more opportunities for working more closely.
“We advocate a person centre approach and it’s great to see this being put into action by The Salvation Army here.
“Employment Plus Local is run by the church and charity at Darbyshire House Lifehouse in Liverpool, one of its centres which provide accommodation and support for people experiencing homelessness.
The service is based at the centre and also operates an outreach to the local community, visiting Salvation Army churches and opening the doors for anyone to attend.
The service was officially opened in May and is the first time the church and charity has opened one of its in-house employment services in a Lifehouse (residential accommodation and support for people experiencing homelessness).
Doug Harrison, Employment Development Coordinator, who runs the Employment Plus at Darbyshire House said: “Our door is open for anyone from the local community to access our service. We can help give people the skills they need to transform their lives and often that starts with just a cup of tea and a listening ear.
“Everyone who walks through our doors has a different reason for coming and we work with them to uncover the root cause of their visit. It’s an approach that is working and we’re seeing positive outcomes.
“I also visit local Salvation Army churches and offer support to people who are in the midst of a crisis. Much of our success here has been thanks to partnership working. Local agencies and businesses help us in our work.”
Mo has lived at The Salvation Army’s Darbyshire House Lifehouse for a couple of weeks. He said: “I’ve never been in this situation before and I received the support just when I needed it. Doug was able to give me the skills I needed to help myself. I am truly grateful.”
Local people can find information and guidance on their journey into work. This visit from Councillor Lana Orr comes as many unemployed people struggle to gain access to mainstream employment support unless they are claiming social security or have been referred by another agency.
Activities offered at the service deliver back-to-work support and provide access to computers and internet facilities to assist job searches.
Rebecca Keating, Director for The Salvation Army’s Employment Plus UK service, says: “It is vital that people have the right kind of support to help them look for work and develop the right skills to maintain their employment. Many of the problems that can prevent people from engaging with existing employment support services will be exacerbated by where they live. As a consequence, it can be much harder to find the right type of employment support in areas where it is most needed.
“Services like the one at Darbyshire House Lifehouse in Liverpool work holistically with a person to address their needs. It’s also completely voluntary to attend, which means that we can serve those people who fall through the gaps and are often not recognised within government statistics, for reasons such as not being eligible for funded programmes or becoming discouraged from engaging with the benefits system."