Training and work experience placements are being offered to jobseekers by Newcastle-Staffs Foodbank to help them get a foot on the employment ladder.

Newcastle-Staffs Foodbank, part of The Trussell Trust, has launched ‘A Guiding Hand’ supported by a grant of almost £20,000 from the European Social Fund and the Community Foundation of Staffordshire.

The scheme will focus on supporting the 18 to 24-year-old age group but is open to anyone who is unemployed and actively looking for work. Under the project, individuals will be assigned volunteer roles within the foodbank organisation, ranging from agency liaison officer to research assistant or social media coordinator.

They will benefit from the advice and experience of existing staff and volunteers who will help participants to improve skills such as communication, presentation and problem solving. Formal training will also be offered, such as first aid, food safety and manual handling. During the course of their placement, usually lasting about 12 weeks, jobseekers will receive regular support towards achieving the individual targets they set when they sign

Volunteer coordinator Deborah Simpson said: “Packing and distributing food parcels might immediately spring to mind when you think of a foodbank, but behind the scenes we rely on volunteers for a whole lot more. Whether it is running an organised office, maintaining accurate warehouse records, or drumming up support through social media, our volunteer roles call for professionalism on all levels. Taking up a placement could lead to better prospects for those searching for employment.

“These are all very relevant roles for businesses today and as well as the practical experience, clients will also be able to gain industry-recognised training certificates. At the end of their time within the foodbank, we hope clients can positively demonstrate
their talents and abilities to prospective employers with a view to securing paid work.”

Newcastle-Staffs Foodbank operates six centres across Newcastle borough where clients can exchange a voucher for three days worth of nutritious food and hygiene supplies. Vouchers are issued by a wide range of referral agencies such as housing associations, social workers, health professionals and debt advisers.

Anyone interested in working with the Newcastle-Staffs Foodbank and A Guiding Handis asked to contact Deborah on 07375 365624 or emailing

Anyone who is struggling to afford food should call 0808 2082138 to speak to a trained CAB adviser who can issue a foodbank voucher.
Details of how to support the foodbank can also be found here

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