The Here for You project run by Berwick Community Trust is anticipating a key role in helping people who will be made redundant over the coming months.
“We were surprised not to be included in the taskforce given the work we’ve done with workers from Seton Hall and Burgons of Eyemouth over the last few months,” said project manager Becci Murray,
“We’ve now requested that we’re included because we feel as the only Berwick-based service offering this support that we should be involved.”
The multi-agency taskforce comprises Northumberland County Council, Berwick MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan, Berwick Town Council, Arch, job Centre Plus and other business groups.
The closure of the pastry factory by the autumn, with the loss of 265 jobs, is expected to have a devastating impact on workers, their families and wider economy.
“It’s going to be an economic disaster for Berwick,” said Becci. “There’s no getting away from the fact it will have a huge knock-on effect for Berwick in terms of the disposable income people have.”
However, Here for You will try to do its bit to lessen the impact. Working with the National Careers Service, the project has already been involved in helping explain Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) protocol to Jus-Rol staff.
They have also held preliminary discussions with Jus-Rol’s HR department to try and work out a programme of support for the staff who will lose their jobs.
“We’ve already had discussions about what additional services can be put in place to support the people that are going to be made redundant,” said Becci.
“We’d like to go in there again over the next few weeks and month and explain to the workers how we can help and outline the support there is for them.
“Those conversations are still at an early stage though. The Here for You scheme only operates three days a week at the moment and has limited funding so we hope Jus-Rol can offer us some sort of financial support. That would enable us to best make sure that everyone has an appropriate level of support.”
Since the Here for You scheme started in January 2013 it has helped 740 people.
To date, it can boast 347 job outcomes and helped numerous others into training. Much of this is seasonal employment given the nature of the local economy, although people are also more prepared than they were in the past to move away and make a fresh start.
Here for You has also become an accredited training centre through the NOCN (National Open College Network).
It is also hoping to launch a customer service training course which is not available locallly.
“Our work is incredibly varied and broad ranging,” said Becci. “A lot of our work can be helping people to fill in their CV, application forms or putting them in position to get training in IT skills or whichever direction they want their career to take.
“We have worked really closely with the National Careers Service. People considering a change in career can make an appointment with us and talk about their aspirations in a way they might not be able to at the job centre.”