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MP Visits Chesterton Salvation Army Initiative Providing Help To Get People Back To Work

A Salvation Army initiative set up to help people in Chesterton find work has welcomed Paul Farrelly MP through its doors to see how it is helping people in the community.

Mr Farrelly, MP for Newcastle-under-Lyme, met with people from the Employment Plus Hub on Friday, November 22. They told him how The Salvation Army’s scheme based at its church, known as Chesterton corps, in Brick Kiln Lane, Chesterton, helps unemployed people to find sustained employment. The Employment Plus Local scheme was set up by Chesterton corps’ community manager, Teresa Dunn, about four years ago. The scheme is supported by several volunteers. The church offers Employment Plus services every week and is open to anyone from the local community for both drop in and personal appointment sessions.

Major Rose Denyer, corps officer (church leader) alongside her husband Major Neil Denyer, at Chesterton corps, said: “People’s lives are transformed when they are in employment. Because of this we wanted to be active in offering a compassionate, friendly and warm welcome to people, but to also offer practical help to people in our community who need help to find employment.”

The Salvation Army’s Employment Plus service at Chesterton corps offers a friendly and warm atmosphere to enable job seekers to search for new roles and create quality applications with the church also offering computer and internet access as well as classes on IT skills. People have the opportunity to take part in First Aid training, Manual Handling as well as customer services courses. Every year the corps holds an award ceremony for those who have achieved a qualification.

Major Alan Aggett, The Salvation Army’s Employment Plus Mission Development Officer, said: “The Salvation Army has been involved in helping those furthest from the labour market for more than 100 years so we felt this was a way as a church and charity we could help those in our own community in a practical way.

“We wanted to address unemployment, as it is one of the main causes of poverty, as well as social exclusion, isolation, and digital exclusion." The Salvation Army in Chesterton works with people with a variety of needs and social circumstances. It aims to benefit the community through a range of schemes which include Employment Plus for example in September new community allotments were opened. The Salvation Army owned the unused area of land next to the building and converted the land to its original use as community allotments to be used by local residents to grow fresh produce. Now, as well as individual allotments, there is also a separate community allotment where people can grow vegetables which will be used in the kitchens to support the café that is run during the week at The Salvation Army. The church also has a parents and tots group as well as running a Lone Parents Support Group.

Paul Farrelly MP, said: “It’s been great to see some of the great things The Salvation Army is doing to help people in Chesterton find work. It was lovely to see how passionate people at Chesterton corps are in helping people to not be treated as simply a number but instead to give them a warm and friendly welcome. The staff here were very approachable and caring which is great because unemployment is a very difficult experience to go through. It was fantastic to see such positive support for people. At the church there are people who are willing to provide a listening ear, guidance and advice, to help people get back to work.”

[Photo Courtesy: Samantha Sadler]