Helen Robinson, Director of Employment Services for The Salvation Army in the UK with the Republic of Ireland, says: "We can’t sit on the sidelines when unemployed people need more help than ever to get and stay in work. In these tough economic times, need is so great and if we can help, then we want to be able to do so. We have seen first hand the positive benefits people gain from being in work, volunteering or taking part in a work-experience placement – becoming part of a community where you are building your confidence, job skills, and discovering new things about yourself.
As a locally-based church and charity, devoted to serving God and showing unconditional Christian love to all, we offer support to help people become job-ready, to get a job and to stay in work. As such, we are involved in the Work Programme, helping people furthest from employment or who have been unemployed for a long time through every step of their journey to be job ready and to stay in work. Many people we support have complex needs. We also provide short-term work-experience placements.
We operate from more than 1,000 locations across the UK and Ireland, when you combine our churches, social centres, drop-in services and charity shops. Some of our local centres have accepted people on mandatory work activity (MWA) placements from independent welfare to work providers. We’ve found, whether on MWA or a standard work-experience placement, that people benefit from gaining work experience, a recent reference and in gaining confidence - and they also help their local community.
If you're involved in a placement at The Salvation Army, you are more than likely to be helping others - this can be a powerful transformative experience. Anyone who comes to The Salvation Army will receive assistance based solely on their need and our capacity to provide help. We respect and value the rich diversity of our staff, volunteers and all people in the communities in which we serve - whatever their age, background, gender, faith, culture, sexual orientation or circumstances.
We would be extremely concerned if a person turned down a mandatory work activity placement with The Salvation Army, because of any doubts they had about the support and welcome they will receive from us and what they will be doing. We don’t want jobseekers to lose their benefits so would want to work with any individual to identify why they have reservations or problems with us, and to address them.
We strive to provide the best experience possible and welcome feedback from anyone who’s participated in a placement with The Salvation Army so we can improve the service we offer."