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Employment project for Wirral residents goes from strength to strength

If you are unemployed or feel like your life is on pause after furlough, ReachOut could be the solution. The successful jobseekers project, part of Wirral Ways to Work programme, has been helping local residents find jobs for over 14 years. 

ReachOut has helped 2,607 Wirral people gain employment over the past five years, 80% of whom stay in the same job for six months or more. Since the COVID-19 pandemic reached the UK in March 2020, the team have helped 620 people find a job. 

Lia Robinson, Contract Manager for ReachOut, said: “Our main aim is to remove any barriers to employment that people are facing before supporting them into sustainable jobs.  We have a very skilled and welcoming team, many of whom have been working on the project since it began. One of our Job Coaches is now supporting someone back in to employment after helping his Dad in to work 10 years ago!”

Each person seeking employment is assigned a personalised Job Coach who will provide guidance and support, as well as help writing CVs, searching for jobs online, job applications and advice on interview techniques. The project also offers financial support including food vouchers, travel passes and smart workwear.

One success story of the programme is Leon, who was unemployed after leaving the Army with PTSD. 

He said: “At first I was embarrassed due to leaving the military and I’m very proud, but I was made to feel at home immediately. One member of staff, Lesley, helped me with an electricity voucher, because my electric was turned off and I was unable to cook. She also helped me get dog food delivered for my Army service dog. Brian and Lesley were so nice to me and ensured things were put in place to enable me to gain employment.”

Four months after joining the programme, Leon gained employment at Wagamama at Cheshire Oaks. He said: “I highly recommend it to anyone who is unemployed. They helped me with food, work and improvements to my mental health. They deal with so many people but they always remembered my name, which I really appreciated.”

With a new job, life is busy for Leon, but he has another important date for his diary lined up this month. The Birkenhead resident will be attending Parliament with the Royal British Legion to talk to ministers about PTSD, his service dog Misty and how ReachOut helped him improve his life.

Another person who gained employment through the project was Liz from Bromborough. 

She said: “I struggled in interviews due to my lack of self-confidence but ReachOut helped me realise my strengths and skills. The programme made me believe in myself, which ultimately helped me be successful in an interview. I am so grateful and don’t think I would have been able to get through those months without their help.”

Liz got a job as an Administrator with the National Youth service.

As well as helping local people in to employment, the project helps improve the mental wellbeing of participants and give them a goal in life. Carl from Birkenhead, an experienced Gas Engineer, claims joining ReachOut helped him turn his life around. 

He said: “My situation was dire. I lived off the dole with a mortgage for five years. I had to survive on one meal a day - egg sandwiches! I count my blessings I found ReachOut. They really cared for me and it may sound dramatic but they helped me when I was at my lowest. I really don’t think I would be on my road to recovery without them. They weren’t judgmental and put me back on the road for applying for jobs.” 

I cannot begin to thank ReachOut enough. Their help will forever have a special memory in my heart.”

If you are a Wirral resident, unemployed or out of work, or know a friend or family member who are seeking employment, you can reach out to ReachOut by calling 0151 644 5459 (Tranmere Office) or 0151 652 6406 (Birkenhead Office).

You can also find more information at www.involvenorthwest.org.uk/what-we-do/reachout

ReachOut Project is part of the Wirral Ways to Work Programme, which is funded by European Social Fund (ESF) and managed by Involve Northwest. The project has received is receiving up to £1.9m of funding from the European Social Fund as part of the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme in England. The Department for Work and Pensions (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for the England European Social Fund programme. Established by the European Union, the European Social Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support skills development, employment and job creation, social inclusion and local community regenerations. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.