Fears over future of Harleston Jobs Club

Fears have been raised about the future of a project that helps jobseekers in south Norfolk after it emerged that it was losing its main funding next month.

Since its formation last summer, the Harleston Jobs Club has given advice to more than 150 unemployed people and almost a third have found new work.

But the long-term future of the scheme is in doubt when grant aid from the European Social Fund finishes at the end of November.

Officials from Harleston Information Plus, which runs the service every Wednesday morning, are seeking funding from other organisations to keep the valued club going.

News of the end of the European cash comes after the Harleston Jobs Club was a finalist in the Creating Futures Awards last week to celebrate the success of initiatives that have received European funding.

The club, which was formed in June last year in response to the impact of the worst recession in living memory, was one of four finalists in the community impact category at the awards hosted by GO-East and the East of England Development Agency at the Maltings in Ely.

Lucy Hurdley, jobs club co-ordinator, whose position was funded by the European grant, said the initiative was giving value for money in the town, which does not have a dedicated Job Centre. She added that the club cost about �800 a month to keep going.

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'We have submitted applications for funding, but it would only keep us ticking over for a couple of months and nothing has been confirmed.'

'The club has been brilliant. We have regular workshops and more than 70 people attended a Jobs Fair in March and it has been very, very successful,' she said.

A total of 47 jobs club members in Harleston have secured employment and others have moved into volunteering or training in order to enhance their chances of employment since the scheme began last year.

The project runs every Wednesday between 10am and midday at Harleston Information Plus, in Exchange Street, and offers free services such as CV writing, tips and advice for job interviews, consultations with careers advisors, information on courses, volunteering opportunities and job search assistance.