Riverside job club provides local support

Vivien Fleming, Riverside tenant and member of Riverside Customer Voice Executive, went along to a job club hosted in the Halton area of Cheshire. Here’s her views of what the job club offers and the help tenants can get.

Vivien left with Vanessa

Rachael Hayes one of Riverside’s Customer Involvement Officers suggested I visit the Halton job club run by Vanessa Shaw, Employment and Training Officer to get a first-hand experience of the support Riverside provide tenants locally.

The job club was very very busy on the day I was present.   The tenants get support with online job search, setting up email accounts, help to create CVs and look for training courses. They also get help to access funding through Riverside Foundation for accredited training courses or from other organisations to buy interview clothes or help with travel expenses to interviews.

On arrival tenants fill in a registration form and answer some questions. Some of the tenants today have come for help because they are in a four weeks benefits sanction. They’ve not been able to provide evidence they have been job searching for the required hours for their journal, and as a result they’ve had no money paid to them, this has got them into rent arrears.

Vanessa shows them how to provide evidence to support their Universal Credit claim. She also refers tenants to other services provided by Riverside such as Money Advice if they are struggling to pay their rent or Affordable Warmth if they’re having difficulty paying their gas, electric or water bills.

There are two volunteers who help out to support the tenants who come to the job club. Vanessa has a target of getting four people into employment per month, she achieves this target every month.

The job centre also sends tenants (and none tenants) to the job club where Vanessa and the volunteers support tenants on universal credit benefits to improve their digital skills by helping them navigate around online form filling, CVs and job applications. This will hopefully stop tenants being “sanctioned“. All this help and advice hopefully will in the long term support tenants to sustain their tenancy.

I also discuss with Vanessa about any tenants asking for information for tenant groups, she said they did occasionally, but a lot of people don’t have the confidence and were there because of other reason, joining a group was not at the top of their list.

What I found is this service is invaluable to the local community, there was a lot of vulnerable people needing this help, and the take up of this service is massive.

Employment and Training Project Officers can help Riverside tenants including their children who are 16 and over to get the right job. To find out more about the employment and training service click here or call 0345 111 0000.  The Job Club runs Monday 10am to 4pm or Friday 10am to 1pm at Halton Lea Library.  Thursday 10am to 12pm at the Halton Brook Community Centre.