MP commends Salvation Army for successful work programme
MP James Morris had the chance to see how a Salvation Army church initiative is helping people in Cradley Heath find work.
The MP for Halesowen and Rowley Regis met participants in the church's Employment Plus scheme who are being helped to find sustainable employment.
The scheme enables jobseekers to go to the church to update their CVs and take part in employment training courses.
The church runs the scheme in partnership with local businesses and employment agencies, and also supports people in accessing work placements and e-learning.
Captain Elizabeth Hancock, corps officer at the church in Meredith Street, said: "As a church we care about every aspect of a person's welfare. Unemployment is a main cause of social exclusion and poverty so it is a real issue that needs addressing. This is of course especially true for young people and those who have a range of different needs.
"For more than 100 years The Salvation Army has been helping those who are furthest from the labour market so we felt this was a way in which our church could help those in our own community in a practical way. That's why we started our involvement with Employment Plus.
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"When people are in employment their lives are transformed. We wanted to be active in supporting our community and offer a compassionate, friendly face, as we help people towards employment."
Mr Morris met people on the employment scheme during a visit to the church's jobs fair which offered advice and support for those looking for employment.
He said: "The thing about the Work Programme is that it is not just about ticking boxes but about long term sustainable employment.
"This fits into the ethos of The Salvation Army, which does incredible work in Cradley Health. People aren't treated as a number, and instead are given a friendly welcome and positive, practical support in what can be a very difficult experience to go through.
"The Salvation Army Corps, where I hosted a jobs fair on Thursday, have extremely dedicated people who can offer everything from a listening ear to guidance and training opportunities, and on top of all this fantastic work they also make a mean bacon roll."