Work clubs for jobseekers

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A £725,000 scheme to create work clubs across Sheffield is aiming to curb the ‘human waste’ of the high number of people unemployed in the city.

The Sheffield’s Working plan has been given the go-ahead by Sheffield Council, and will sink cash into the areas with the highest number of Jobseekers’ Allowance claimants.

A report on the plan says there are 29,000 people in Sheffield currently unemployed, 9.7 per cent of the city’s population – above the 7.5 per cent national average.

There are also 13,480 people claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance in Sheffield – 3.7 per cent of the population against a 2.7 per cent national average.

Sheffield’s Working will see ‘work clubs’ set up in every area of the city. The report says Burngreave and Darnall is home to 2,297 people claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance, slightly behind Sheffield north east, which has 2,424, but ahead of Sheffield east, with 2,220 and Sheffield south, with 1,935.

A total of £585,000 will be spent on the eight work clubs, with £100,000, being spent on each of the top three areas for job-seekers.

The clubs will aim to support people on benefits and ex-offenders, and will link with GPs and children’s centres.

Two related projects, costing £100,000 in total, will combine to provide debt and benefits advice and support for managing health conditions at work.

Mothiur Rahman, chairman of Darnall Forum, said a lack of employment has led to fighting in the area.

He said: “There needs to be more direct work experience opportunities for people in Darnall. We had fighting last Wednesday and the police were called. It is because people have nothing to do, and no jobs.”

Coun Leigh Bramall, cabinet member for business, said: “We’re launching the Sheffield’s Working programme to support around 1,000 unemployed people over a year. The programme will provide highly tailored support to meet each person’s needs – be it CV and interview support, a key advisor, or other services such as debt management - to help get people back into work.”