Axe hovers over job help centres

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FOUR of Doncaster’s opportunity centres are facing the axe - because it costs too much for them to find jobs for people.

Doncaster Council officers are recommending that Opportunity Centres in Denaby, Stainforth, Intake and Rossington should be closed when their funding runs out next March, because they are not being used enough.

The figures show it has cost almost £2,000 to get each of 267 people into employment between April and October of this year.

The Opportunity Centres opened in 2010 to help with job searching, CV writing, training, advice and financial support.

But take-up is so low that only 16 per cent of unemployed people in the borough visited the centres, with less than two per cent entering employment as a result.

They say the “cost per transaction is extremely high” and only the opportunity centres within libraries in Balby, Woodlands, Askern, Edlington, Mexborough, Bentley and Thorne will be cost-effective.

If the council continued with the other four there would be budget shortfall of more than £230,000 next year.

Five options are being put to the council, but the recommended one is to close the four unfunded centres if alternatives cannot be found.

Denaby and Stainforth are also due to lose their libraries as well as the Opportunity Centres, as Doncaster Council seeks to save £70 million from its budget over four years.

Doncaster resident Lynn Coppendale, who is campaigning against the closure of Doncaster’s libraries, said the Opportunity Centres were a “fantastic complementary service to job centres”.

She said they offered “hands-on support at the heart of the community”.

She believes Denaby, Stainforth, Intake and Rossington were “picked on” because of their demographic and because they are in run-down areas.

She added: “Traditionally those who do kick up a stink are perhaps more affluent and educated areas, and those with jobs.

“Maybe the thinking behind it, perhaps not even consciously, is that they’re going to pick on the areas that they think won’t put up a fight and these places will close without anybody saying anything,” said Lynn.