‘GUTTED’ volunteers who have helped more than 600 Selsey residents get into work in the past year will have to reduce their services after becoming the ‘victims of their own success’.
SelseyWorks, a community service which helps get local people working, is having its funding removed after it successfully reduced the number of people claiming Job Seekers Allowance in just one year.
Founder Sam Tate said she would have to close the newly-created office, with pop-up shop and hot desks, after the government decided there was no longer a need for the service in the town.
“It’s gutting, quite frankly,” she said.
“You could say we’ve been victims of our own success.
“I’m working with the town council at the moment to try to work out a means by which we can still preserve the essence of the support work that we do here, but at greatly-reduced overheads.”
Selsey Town co-ordinator Mrs Tate set up the service in January, 2014, with the help of £105,000 in start-up funds. It helps people find work, gain skills and start up businesses and was given start-up funds from the department of work and pensions (DWP), West Sussex County Council, and Selsey’s new homes bonus from Chichester District Council.
Since then, it has not been able to earn enough revenue, from its pop-up shop and hot-desk rental services, to pay the ongoing rent, rates and overheads on the premises.
Mrs Tate explained the DWP worked out where to assign its funds by working out which areas were most in need.
It does this by working out the number of people in the area who are claiming Job Seeker’s Allowance (JSA).
Mrs Tate said the number of people seeking JSA in Selsey is very low, partly thanks to SelseyWorks, but that number – about 50 – only represents a small percentage of the people who are not working – about ten per cent.
“There are over 500 people in Selsey who aren’t working,” she said.
“There’s an overwhelming need here, it just isn’t the type of need they measure.
“In an area that is mostly affluent, the level of need we have encountered has been truly humbling.
“The number of homeless applications has been quite terrifying.”
The service will now have to close its premises in the High Street.
The site offered a walk-in centre, hot desks where people could run independent businesses and a pop-up shop which has been used by 12 businesses to help get them off the ground.
“There have been about 18 businesses we have helped get up and running and that side of it will unfortunately suffer,” said Mrs Tate.
Instead, it will use a space in the town hall, provided by Selsey Town Council.
Mrs Tate said this would not cost any money and would give residents a local place where they could go to speak to the team anonymously.
To find out more, visit www.selseyworks.co.uk or call 01243 200975.