As an MP, the most important part of the job is to try to help constituents with any problems that they are encountering. Along with housing and immigration, one of the most frequent issues facing residents is unemployment.
Soon after I was elected in 2010, I helped to set up the Monks Hill Job Club - a place where CVs could be polished, jobs searches initiated, interview techniques mastered and application forms assisted with.
The Monks Hill Job Club opened on 13 April 2011 at the Edgecombe Centre and in the first year held 46 weekly sessions. When you consider that this is run by just three incredible volunteers (Andy Stranack, Jayne Laville and Barbara Norton) the hours that they have put into helping residents is astounding and I'm extremely grateful for their hard work.
In its first year the Job Club has helped 52 people, who between them made 160 visits. 37% of them have found extra work or training opportunities through the job club with 100% of those who visited four times or more having found extra work or a training opportunity.
Thanks to the support from the community the Job Club has been able to operate on a budget of less than £250.00 in the first year. This equates to £1.56 for every visit made by a client, £4.80 per client helped and £5.43 per session. This is amazing value when you compare it to the Government’s Work Programme, which it is estimated will cost £1,515 per client. The Department for Work and Pensions expects 36% of clients who go through their work programme to be successful at getting jobs. This is a target that Monks Hill Job Club has exceeded in its first year.
It just goes to show that local, hard-working people really can do better and often know better than far-removed Government. But we do need your help - three dedicated volunteers are incredibly valuable, but more assistance would dramatically improve the service that they can provide and the number of people that we'd be able to help. Getting 52 people back into work is great, but we could easily help more with your assistance.
If you have some spare time to help, run an organisation that has vacancies or would like to donate to help this effective and valuable service then please do get in touch with me for more information.
Monks Hill Job Club runs regularly from the Woodlands Children Centre in Monks Hill. For more details please contact either myself or Andy Stranack by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.