The Salvation Army has said it is worried about the future of some of its programmes that support unemployed people because of uncertainty around funding after Brexit.
Ahead of Employability Day (28 June), the charity is calling on the government to provide clarity about plans to replace the European Social Fund (ESF) when the UK leaves the European Union.
ESF funds a range of back-to-work programmes. This includes the Salvation Army’s Employment Plus programme, which receives around 60 per cent of its funding from ESF.
Current programmes will continue initially but there is no information about what funding will be available after 2020.
The government has said it will create a Shared Prosperity Fund, but has not yet begun consulting on what this should look like.
‘Concerned about the future of specialist services’
All of this means that charities and others cannot plan ahead, and the Salvation Army said it is concerned about the future of its specialist programmes.
Rebecca Keating, Employment Plus director, said: “It is not clear if the funds that the UK government are proposing to replace ESF money will be ring-fenced to protect employment and training. The funding could become narrowed or spent only on structural investment to regenerate areas. And this doesn’t help the people who are currently unemployed. We are working with people who are sleeping rough, who aren’t claiming benefits, who don’t have a home address, who aren’t going to benefit from a new bridge or supermarket.
“While government have announced their plans to create a UK Shared Prosperity fund post-Brexit, we have precious few details on what this will entail. Without clarity on what ESF programmes will look like after the funding ends in 2020, we are concerned for the future of these specialist programmes that so many have benefited from.
Over 10,000 people helped
Since the Salvation Army launched Employment Plus in 2011 it says it has helped more than 10,000 people.
Last year 2,769 people benefited from the programme.
Catherine, 41, had been working as an administrator for a charity on a six month contract, but when her temporary contract she went to the job centre to look for work, and was referred to The Salvation Army’s Employment Plus programme in Cardiff and was able to turn a voluntary role into a work placement by taking on additional duties.
She said: “My work placement saw me help at the breakfast club, do administration and help on reception, help organise community events, and draw up the minutes from meetings. The help I have received from The Salvation Army has been absolutely amazing. I feel so much more confident to go and find myself another job and it really has changed my life.”