Ripon Salvation Army Commanding Officer, Territorial Envoy Stephanie Ruddy, Julian Smith MP and technical volunteer, Paul Grayson
The Salvation Army in Ripon has welcomed local MP Julian Smith to its Employment Plus Centre, to allow the Conservative Member of Parliament for Skipton and Ripon to experience the assistance The Salvation Army provides for unemployed people first hand.
Employment plus, a local initiative led by Ripon Corps, or Church, is a means of providing support to those in unemployment through guidance, support and training. Beginning in Ripon in July 2012, and running on a weekly basis since then, the services are open to all of the local community, both through a drop-in and making a personal appointment.
The Commanding Officer of Ripon Corps, Territorial Envoy Stephanie Ruddy, said, “We’re thrilled to welcome Julian Smith to our Employment Plus service, allowing him to experience directly this great resource we offer the local community,” - we have trained HR and IT professionals to help with everything from IT, job applications, interview help and general advice.”
She continued, “As well as things like CVs and covering letters, we provide people with the confidence they need when they are looking for and starting work. Our volunteers are our lifeblood – they engage with a wide variety of clients of all ages, and have first-hand experience in dealing with the difficult circumstances jobseekers face.”
Conservative MP for Skipton and Ripon, Julian Smith is also the Parliamentary Private Secretary for International Development Minister Justine Greening. A member of the 2010 cohort of newly elected MPs, one of the areas he has focused on has been education, including securing £1 million each in funding for Craven College and South Craven High School.
Speaking during his visit, he said “It’s great to see The Salvation Army responding to the needs of people actively seeking work with such a fantastic initiative like Employment Plus. As a government committed to getting people back into work, services like this are a huge boon to give people confidence and skills they need to get back into paid employment.”[Left to Rright] Pat Clark, Manager of Ripon Employment and Resource Centre, Julian Smith MP for Ripon, Territorial Envoy Stephanie Ruddy
He continued, “The fantastic thing about The Salvation Army’s help is that it focuses on people – the volunteers have experiences that can help their clients, and there’s a generosity of both time and spirit there, which stems from the ethos of the organisation.”
Employment Plus has echoes of the past of The Salvation Army, but has its feet placed firmly in the present and a fixed eye on the future. Since the late nineteenth century, when the Church and Charity established the first labour exchanges twenty years ahead of the Government, up to the present day, where Employment Plus and initiatives like the Hadleigh Training Centre help people. The Salvation Army has always been committed to work as a means to not only financial security, but improve health and wellbeing.
Lynn Coutts, Development Manager of Employment Plus, said, “It’s exciting to hear of the excellent work going on in Ripon. We know that the one-to-one support that Employment Plus offers can make a real difference in getting people back into work, and we’re thrilled that Julian Smith has visited us to see the help we can offer for himself.”
She concluded, “As a Church and Charity that supports isolated people, The Salvation Army has always believed in helping build people’s confidence and character through meaningful work. The work Employment Plus is doing in Ripon, and around the country, is driven by this simple aim – to help people improve their lives, and the lives of their families.”