Salvation Army’s job club in Falkirk aims to help people find a New Future

Helping deliver a New Future...tutor James Fotheringham, project co-ordinator Kerry Smart and learning and employability adviser Vikki Thomson. (Pic: Michael Gillen)
Helping deliver a New Future...tutor James Fotheringham, project co-ordinator Kerry Smart and learning and employability adviser Vikki Thomson. (Pic: Michael Gillen)

The Job Centre is not the only place in Falkirk where you can seek help to find a job.

Around 100 people every week are using the Salvation Army’s New Future centre on Falkirk High Street.

The employability and training centre offers free use of computers for job hunters who need to prepare or update their CVs and cover letters and submit online application forms.

A growing army of people are also using the centre to help them set up email addresses for their Universal Credit applications.

The centre already runs basic computing classes every Monday and Thursday from 10am to 12.30pm, a CV workshop on Tuesday from 10am to 12.30pm and opens until 8pm every Wednesday to offer debt advice.

Now project co-ordinator Kerry Smart, who has worked in the centre for nine years, and learning and employability adviser Vikki Thomson, who started in January, are hoping more people will take advantage of their job club too.

It runs from 10am to 12.30pm every Wednesday and is already securing results for clients.

But Kerry and Vikki want to help even more locals back into work.

Kerry said: “We work very closely with the Job Centre and every Monday we post new jobs in the centre so that our clients can see any posts that may be suitable.

“Our team offers support to clients wishing to apply for jobs and can also help anyone who wants to register with local recruitment agencies.

“We’re able to spend a bit of time with people, helping to prepare their CVs and cover letters, as well as with their interview techniques.

“Not everyone has access to a computer at home so people can come here and use ours for free.

“And help and advice is always on hand from our friendly team of staff and volunteers if it’s needed.

“We currently help around 100 people every week but we’d love more people to come along to our job club.

“It’s incredible being able to help people find a job, particularly those who have been unemployed for some time. There’s a great deal of job satisfaction in that.”

The New Future centre also works hand in hand with Falkirk Council on its Employability Awards.

Vikki explained: “We bid for the awards, which are targeted at school leavers.

“It gives them the chance to work through 10 SQA modules, giving them core skills, such as computing, to arm them for the world of work, including work placements in our charity and furniture shops.

“Not every young person leaves school with the skills that they need but the course has helped many of them to secure apprenticeships and full time employment.”

The New Future centre’s computing classes are also a boon to those who need a helping hand.

Kerry explained: “Our computing classes offer one-to-one support, if required, to show clients the basics, such as setting up and using programmes such as email and word documents.

“More recently, we have also been supporting clients who need assistance with their Universal Jobmatch account – from setting up an email account to how to fill out their journals.

“Clients can also use our phones for free should they need to organise interviews.

“It’s really a one-stop shop for anyone looking for a job.”

However, the New Future team are also on hand to help those struggling with other problems, with access to a drug and alcohol counsellor and debt advice on tap too.

Kerry said: “We’re open late every Wednesday to offer debt advice. Often, it’s people who are employed who are struggling.

“So our doors are open until 8pm every Wednesday to enable people to pop in after work.

“People can also access services at the Salvation Army’s worship and community centre in Woodside Court, from taking a shower to food bank support and speaking to our drug and alcohol counsellor.”

The Salvation Army first set up New Future in its community flat in Maddiston but the service moved to Falkirk in 2014 and has continued to expand since.

Kerry added: “People can pop in anytime to have a chat.

“We’re here to help people of all ages and levels of ability and are really keen for more people to join our job club.”

New Future Employability and Training Centre is based at 167 to 169 High Street and is open Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm, and until 8pm every Wednesday.

For more information, call 01324 617163, email falkirknewfuture@salvationarmy.org.uk or visit www.salvationarmy.org.uk/falkirk.

Other Salvation Army services in Falkirk

The Salvation Army’s worship and community centre, and its soup kitchen, is based at 1 Woodside Court, Falkirk.

From here, the Salvation Army also runs a number of activities throughout the week.

MONDAY

10am - 11am: Older people active lifestyles exercise class.

12.30pm to 2.30pm: Drop-in service (puzzles and games from 11.30 am).

3pm to 6pm: Safe ’Til Six, after school club.

TUESDAY

9.30am to 11.30am: Parents and Tots

12.30pm to 2.30pm: Drop-in.

1.30pm to 2.30pm: Home League.

3pm to 6pm: Safe ’Til Six, after school club.

WEDNESDAY

12.30pm to - 2.30pm: Drop-in.

3pm to 6pm: Safe ’Til Six, after school club.

4pm to 4.45pm: Kids Choir.

7pm to 9pm: Band and songster practice.

THURSDAY

10am - 11am: Older people active lifestyles exercise class.

10am to noon: Craft Cafe.

12.30pm to 2.30pm: Drop-in.

3pm to 6pm: Safe ’Til Six, after school club.

FRIDAY

9.30am to 11.30am: Parents and Tots.

12.30pm to 2.30pm: Drop-in.

3pm to 6pm: Safe ’Til Six, after school club.

The Salvation Army also runs a charity shop at 32 High Street, Falkirk, open Monday to Saturday from 9am to 5pm.

And its Furniture Project at 9 Callendar Road, Falkirk, is open 10am to 4pm Monday to Saturday, providing low cost pre-loved furniture, clothes and bric-a-brac. To make a donation call the project on 01324 637554.

For more information on the Salvation Army and its services in Falkirk, call 01324 627425 or email falkirk@salvationarmy.org.uk.