[From left to right: Major Paul Westlake DDCS Southern Division, Rt Hon Maria Miller Conservative MP for Basingstoke and Basingstoke Corps Officer Major Peter Fallows] A Salvation Army initiative to help people in Basingstoke find employment was visited by the city’s MP today (Monday, 16th June 2014). Maria Miller MP met jobseekers at The Salvation Army Corps (Church and Community centre) who are being supported by staff and volunteers to look for work. They are part of the ‘Employment Plus Local’ initiative which provides and friendly atmosphere in which people can make job applications, access training, internet and IT facilities, and get assistance with CVs. Mike Beeston, who is in charge of The Salvation Army’s Employment Plus Local in Basingstoke, said: “Unemployment is one of the main causes of poverty and social exclusion in Basingstoke. As a Church and charity based in the city we wanted to address this as we care about every aspect of a person’s welfare.
[From left to right: Service User Mr David Thomas, Service User Mr Roy Chapman, Maria Miller MP, Michael Beeston, Basingstoke Employment Plus] “The Salvation Army has been helping those who are furthest from the labour market for more than 100 years and we felt this was a way in which we could help those in our own community in a practical way. People’s lives are transformed when in employment, and this is an active way in which we could offer a friendly and compassionate face as we help people find work.” Commenting on the initiative, Maria Miller said: “Many people find it tough to get back into employment after a sustained period out of work and need the help of The Salvation Army. “This project is providing positive support to people going through this difficult experience, and I’m pleased to see that this centre is offering guidance, the right facilities and support to get people into a job that matches their skills." The Salvation Army also runs over 60s and lunch clubs, parent and toddlers groups and a food parcels programme from the centre in Wessex Close.