New help centre for the unemployed

A NEW help centre for unemployed people that has been set up by volunteers in Marlpool will open next week.

The centre, called ARC, will be open from noon to 3pm every Wednesday at All Saints Church, on Ilkeston Road, for anyone to drop in for a cup of tea and a chat to explore how the four-strong team can help them.

The idea for the centre was sparked when friends of the church lost their jobs at Heanor Co-op in April this year.

Organiser Steve Roger said: “We heard about people who were working there for umpteen years who had never had to write a CV or go to an interview – and who suddenly had to do these things. We will be offering people advice on CV writing, interview techniques, getting the benefits they’re entitled to, starting a business or whatever.”

Steve, 64, has 20 years of management experience with an IT company and ran his own upholstery business.

He said: “I’ve been at both ends – I’ve been at interviews and I’ve employed people. Patrick and Christina Ashcroft, who work for a recruitment company based in Chesterfield, will be teaching people what ticks employer’s boxes. My wife Janice is a bookkeeper who will be giving help to people who want to start their own buisiness.”

As well as the core team, ARC has access to a number of ‘associates’ – individuals with years of experience in all aspects of the work environments whether it be as employers, recruiters, entrepreneurs or managers.

“All of our associates have offered their time and experience free either for group sessions or on a one-to-one basis,” added Steve.

ARC is an entirely independent organisation which is neither funded by nor affiliated to central or local government.

It is run by people associated with the church but there is no Christian teaching. All the services, including tea and coffee, are free.

Steve, who is a reader in the church, said: “There are 11,000 vacancies in the Derby job area – so there are plenty of jobs about but a lot of people don’t have the basics about CVs or interview technique.

“The job situation is going to get worse over the next two or three years. We are in a fortunate position of not having to worry about it.

“The job centre is under pressure to find people work - but that’s their job not ours. We have no targets to hit or success criteria to fulfil.

“We have this dirty great big building and we should be using it.

“Anyone looking for work is welcome – there’s no pressure. Just come for a cup of tea, an opportunity to get out of the house, or for an in-depth discussion or anything in between.”