The Salvation Army’s employment services in Essex are expanding following continued local demand for people needing support in their search for work. A regional employment services team was appointed in April 2018 to assist new and existing services in Southend, Hadleigh, Canvey Island, Braintree and Grays.
James Duddridge MP (Rochford and Southend East) met with Salvation Army staff and clients on Employability Day (29 June) at their church and community centre on Clarence Road, Southend, where staff and volunteers run a Salvation Army Employment Plus service.
Employment Plus offers a welcoming and positive environment for people needing support in their search for work. A drop-in service is available every Tuesday from 10am to 12noon where experienced staff deliver person-centred employment support to help clients access development opportunities, update their CV, apply for jobs and prepare for interviews.
People are also referred to The Salvation Army by the Shaw Trust as part of the government’s Work & Health Programme, a more specialist support scheme for people with additional needs, including those living with disability and people experiencing homelessness. Salvation Army staff offer a holistic programme of support covering a number of personalised courses covering topics such as money management, healthy relationships and tenancy sustainment. After a briefing about the service, Mr Duddridge heard from Salvation Army staff about their experience of supporting people in their search for work.
James Duddridge MP said: “It was great to meet the staff and volunteers at The Salvation Army supporting people get on the job ladder. It is schemes such as The Salvation Army’s employment service that have some of the biggest impact in giving people the skills they require in order to fulfil their potential. I am pleased to learn that they are expanding and am sure they will be helping even more people in the not so distant future.”
Julie Bakonyvari, The Salvation Army’s newly appointed Regional Manager for Employment Plus, said: “We are very pleased Mr Duddridge took the time to come and see the vital work that’s done here to support people with a variety of complex needs on their journey towards sustained employment. “I am especially pleased he was able to speak with our clients, many of whom have now found work despite battling with physical and mental health issues. Mr Duddridge was able to hear first-hand the challenges they have faced.
“Following the recent changes in government funding of employment services, the Work & Health Programme is receiving 80 per cent less funding than its predecessor. We are concerned more people in the Southend area will fall through the gaps in the system. “Thankfully, here in Southend and Castle Point, we offer drop-in services in addition to taking referrals and, therefore, are able to reach people through our network of churches and centres that have served local people for more than 125 years. Anyone wanting to find work can come to us for support.
“We hope that after today’s visit, Mr Duddridge understands why government needs to prioritise specialist employment programmes and work with organisations such as The Salvation Army that strive to empower people to access the right support at the right time.”
Other Salvation Army centres in Essex offering employment support include Grays, Hadleigh Temple, Canvey Island and Braintree. The Salvation Army also runs a training centre for adults with additional support needs and people facing barriers to employment on Hadleigh Farm Estate.
Alongside the employment service at the church and community centre on Clarence Road, The Salvation Army runs a drop-in service for people in need and those experiencing homelessness and a charity shop, with profits supporting the local work of The Salvation Army.