Government Minister Visits Great Yarmouth Church

published on 17 Jan 2014

A Salvation Army church has welcomed Brandon Lewis MP through its doors to see the work it is doing to help people from Great Yarmouth find work.

Mr Lewis, who is Conservative MP for Great Yarmouth and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Communities and Local Government, met with people from the church’s Employment Plus team on Friday, January 17. They told him how The Salvation Army’s Employment Plus service based at the church in Tolhouse Street, Great Yarmouth, helps unemployed people to find sustained employment by creating a friendly environment with drop in and personal appointment sessions.

Lieutenant Ben Selfe, corps officer (The Salvation Army’s term for a minister of religion) at Great Yarmouth corps (church), said: “Long-term unemployment is a real concern because it is a main cause of poverty and social exclusion. This is especially true and no more acutely felt than here in Great Yarmouth. “The Salvation Army has been helping those furthest from the labour market for more than 100 years so when we started our involvement with Employment Plus we felt this was somewhere the church could really be effective in helping people in our community. Being in employment is key to transforming peoples’ lives and that of their families, and we wanted to provide compassionate and pro-active support for people who are out of work in our own community.”

The Salvation Army in Great Yarmouth works with people from diverse backgrounds and a variety of social circumstances and aims to provide a friendly welcome and to benefit the community through a range of schemes which include Employment Plus.

The church (corps) in Great Yarmouth has been offering the Employment Plus service since 2010 and works with local businesses, training providers, and employment agencies. The services are open to anyone in the local community and is supported by dedicated volunteers. It offers personalised support, access to job searches, offers e-learning opportunities and job application support – with trained HR and IT professionals on hand to offer advice and assistance.

Volunteers provide practical advice and one to one support when needed. They help job seekers with CVs and covering letters, as well as providing them with the confidence and skills needed once in work. Many of the volunteers have first-hand experience in dealing with the difficult circumstances job seekers may face.

The church also seeks to reduce the negative effects of unemployment on people’s lives so that there is a focus on people’s personal as well as professional development goals.  

Brandon Lewis MP said: “It was great to see the work The Salvation Army is doing in drawing alongside residents in Great Yarmouth and helping them find work. “There is both positive support and practical help on offer at the church which can make a real difference to those dealing with the stress and uncertainty of unemployment. Visitors will find a compassionate group of people here, who are willing to provide guidance, with a range of training opportunities, to help them get back to work.”