This project started in started by a very boisterous volunteer, helps local people who have difficulties with language or the use of computers, and who as a result have problems gaining access to the jobs market and are at risk of having their benefits stopped. Their problems may be caused by English not being their first language, lack of training and opportunities for computer use, literacy problems left over from their education, specific mental health or learning disability issues, social isolation and low morale, a criminal record/ex-offender or, a combination of all these. It uses the development of CV’s as not just a practical tool but also as a way of someone remembering their capabilities and getting used to talking about them. It uses the basics of computer use and the process of job searching as not just an essential process but as an occasion for conversation and sociability. The aim is for people to be able to independently seek and gain employment.
Shortly after the job club project started, it was quickly identified that there was a serious need to add benefit related advice to it. And so, we commenced benefit advice services alongside it. This meant that people were receiving information as to what benefits they were entitled to, how they can apply for it, how to challenge a decision if they felt it was wrong or that they got the wrong award. This has also spilled over into other areas like, housing, debts, school placements, and others too numerous to mention here.
Since the project started, we have relied heavily on volunteers who are supervised by our centre manager. They have brought with them a plethora of skills that has brought about very positive outcomes to the project. They have also acquired skills, references, and made a lot of friends.