Unemployment can be a demoralising and depressing experience.
But volunteers at a Methodist church job club in one of the UK’s most deprived areas are providing much-needed hope to local people.
Five years ago, members of Pollokshaws Methodist Church partnered with Christians Against Poverty to set up the club in Glasgow, where joblessness is high.
Alison Maulden, David Robson, Maggie Robson, Wendy Cox and manager Phil Haggis – give up their time every week to help struggling people, with astonishing results.
‘We’ve seen over 1,300 individuals come through the doors looking for work,’ said manager Phil Haggis. ‘We know we’ve helped at least 400 of them to find jobs, though the actual total will be much higher.’
The volunteers – supported by the Church, Circuit, District, and Connexion, and working closely with the DWP and People Plus – open their doors every Tuesday, from 10am to 1pm.
They have sixteen computers for jobseekers to use, and offer basic IT training and help with drawing up a CV, writing application letters, and interview techniques.
‘We’re often dealing with refugees, or people who are unemployed after thirty years,’ said Phil. ‘They may not even have computers at home, and aren’t experienced in applying for work. We are there to offer that practical support, as well as a sympathetic ear. We also provide soup and a roll for lunch, and coffee, and it’s also an important opportunity for people to socialise. For some, it’s the only place they go to during the week.’
The Rev Timothy Sharpe, who nominated the job club volunteers, said, ‘Each person comes with their own story of hardship, and the listening ear has been just as important. It is so good to see the change in people’s attitudes from one of no hope of finding work to being positive.’