Salvation Army Employment Plus scheme praised by MP
published on 7 Dec 2021
A Salvation Army scheme to help people find and stay in employment has been praised Sunderland Central MP Julie Elliott.
The Employment Plus service, which is funded in the city through a partnership with drinks manufacturer Clearly Drinks, offers tailored support to help people become job ready and stay in work.
During a visit to the service at the church and charity’s Southwick Centre, Ms Elliott described it as a ‘fantastic scheme’.
Sue Park, Employment Development Co-ordinator, said: “It was great to be able to show Julie the difference Employment Plus is making after a just a couple of months in the city.
“Our aim is to help people identify their skills, boost their confidence and break down the barriers which may have stopped them finding a job. We support our clients with training opportunities, building up their CVs, finding jobs that are sustainable and suitable for them, preparing for interviews, and supporting them to stay in work once they’ve found a job.
“We are building partnerships with agencies across the city and are seeing referrals from Citizen’s Advice Bureau, the Job Centre and The Salvation Army Lifehouse (supported accommodation) Swan Lodge. We are looking forward to building on that and helping even more people.”
Part of the Susan’s role is to support people who are working with The Salvation Army as part of the Kickstarter scheme, work placements for 16-to-24 year olds who claim Universal Credit and are at risk of long-term unemployment.
Ms Elliott said: “They are doing an incredible job in the community, supporting so many people that need it, helping them get the skills and the confidence to find work.
“It is a fantastic scheme, and I am sure that it is going to make a huge difference to so many people.”
Ms Elliott met with Employment Plus clients including Geoff*, 60, who is looking to get back into work after many years as a full-time carer for his mother.
Struggling with rising energy bills, Geoff has also been supported by The Salvation Army with food parcels and signposting to other agencies.
Geoff, who with Sue’s help recently secured an interview, said: “Sue is really good and has helped me in lots of ways. Because of my age, I know it will get harder to try and find work, but I’m going to keep going with Sue’s help.
“I would definitely be in a worse position without Employment Plus. It is a good job that they are there because a lot of people would be struggling even more. At least you know you can get some help, whether it’s work related or filling in forms or even just to use a computer. Thank goodness for The Salvation Army.”
Ms Elliott was also given a guided tour of the Southwick Salvation Army by Graham Wharton, Community Manager, which runs a food bank and hosts a number of programmes for the community.
Representatives from Clearly Drinks, who part funded the employment development co-ordinator role and has also supplied food donations and resources to Swan Lodge, were also present.
Mick Howard, CEO at Clearly Drinks, said: “As a business, we really care about supporting, educating and giving back to the communities around us so we’re delighted to see that the Employment Plus scheme with The Salvation Army is already having a real impact on people’s lives.
“Offering training and employment opportunities to those who are homeless and unemployed in the local area helps support our local economy, it improves employment rates in Sunderland and ultimately helps people to develop their full potential.”
For more information on Employment Plus click here.
*not his real name