Swindon Salvation Army homeless hostel gets grant to help local job seekers into work

Booth Lifehouse, a residential centre for people experiencing homelessness, will soon be able to help unemployed people throughout Swindon find a job.

The centre, located on Spring Close, has been chosen as a base for The Salvation Army’s in-house employment service, Employment Plus to provide help to job seekers, after the church and charity successfully bid for money from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), with Swindon Borough Council.

Booth Lifehouse already operates two thriving social enterprises – Recycles, which sells reconditioned bicycles and The Sandwich People, an external catering service – both of which are run entirely by lifehouse service users and volunteers; with support and training from qualified staff.

The addition of an Employment Plus service there, from July this year, will place Booth House even more firmly at the heart of the local community and enable The Salvation Army to help more people in Swindon find sustainable employment.

The total value of the DCLG community award to Booth House is £70,000.  The money will go towards creating a full-time Employment Development Co-ordinator post, installing new computer terminals for visitors to drop in and use to look for and apply for jobs and for training volunteers to help assess and mentor service users into work.

Once Employment Plus is fully up and running at Booth House, The Salvation Army plans to introduce it to other locations; such as churches, libraries and community centres; across Swindon.

Rebecca Keating, Employment Plus Director said: “We are so pleased that the bid we submitted with Swindon Borough Council has been successful. This is a one-off fund but it really helps to kick start our efforts to extend Employment Plus in Swindon.  Most Salvation Army Lifehouses offer employability training to service users and it’s been really effective in helping people experiencing homelessness find employment and move on to sustainable independent living.

“But from July, anyone will now be able to drop in to Booth House, register with the service and get expert help from a dedicated job coach.  They’ll be able to come in and use one of the computers to look for work or try out our e-learning software too.  In time, our aim is for the service to be more established in the town and available at other locations.”

Employment Plus and Booth Lifehouse are at the forefront of The Salvation Army’s mission to enable people experiencing difficulties to improve their own lives through a range of practical support and employability skills, to help achieve sustainable change and secure independence.