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New Elephant office for back-to-work scheme

Southwark Works has opened a new office at the Elephant and Castle to help local people learn the skills they need to find work.

Cllr Richard Thomas at Southwark Works
Cllr Richard Thomas officially opens the new office with clients-turned staff Minella Alexander and Kemi Martins

The service – supported by Southwark Council and its partners – has been running since 2004 and provides confidential one-to-one support to unemployed residents.

It provides specialist help for those in ill-health, with physical or learning disabilities, or recovering from addiction, along with refugees, and those unable to afford the childcare which would allow them to look for work.

This free recruitment service means that employers can fill their jobs with candidates who have been matched to their specific needs.

The new office in the Elephant and Castle shopping centre was officially opened this week by Cllr Richard Thomas, Southwark's executive member for regeneration.

"This service makes a huge difference to people's lives," says Cllr Thomas. "The Elephant is going through a massive redevelopment programme which will bring fantastic opportunities to the area, but we must harness these opportunities to attack poverty and joblessness, particularly within minority and BME groups.

"We have to make sure that the future of the area is moulded around the needs of residents. Developers must not just invest in nice buildings, they must invest in the local people who live and work there.

"This branch of Southwark Works means people have great facilities right on their doorstep. The council is committed to nurturing local business, and the support on offer here means we can make it much easier for people to overcome the barriers that often stop residents getting into work."

Minella Alexander first came to Southwark Works as a customer and now works as an administrator on the team.

She said: "I've got so much from Southwark Works. I look forward to coming to work in the morning, because it's such a warm, supportive atmosphere.

"It shows that no circumstances should stop you from getting employment, because Southwark Works has helped so many people, and they're very empathetic to the needs of others."

The new Southwark Works office is at Unit 239 in Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre and is open Monday to Friday 9.30am- 5pm. Tel 0800 052 0540 or email info@southwarkworks.org.uk

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