Cash-strapped Bourne group is lifeline for jobseekers

Cara Lane is helped by volunteer Jane Schofield  Photo: SM260911-022js
Cara Lane is helped by volunteer Jane Schofield Photo: SM260911-022js
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USERS of a back-to-work community group have joined an appeal for sponsors amid worries it could be forced to close down.

Toolbar holds free sessions every Monday morning from the Bourne Snooker Centre in Cherryholt Road.

The group has been running for two-and-a-half years with the support of charities and organisations, including the Len Pick Trust, Bourne Town Council and the Bourne United Charities.

But in the face of spending cuts this year, major donors have been forced to reduce their support.

Chairman Neville Hydes fears that without extra backing the group will not last past March next year.

Angela Haynes, 42, from Bourne, found herself out of work for the first time in more than 20 years in May.

She has been attending Toolbar sessions for two months to rebuild her confidence and get back in the job market and says the value of the group is clear.

She said: “They have been fantastic and very supportive. They have been helping me on the computers. I was frightened of touching them.

“I was really down when I came. I feel a lot better now, I feel more confident. I used to feel like sitting in a corner and not talking to anyone.”

Cara Lane, 39, of Tarragon Way, Bourne, has only been going to Toolbar for three weeks but has already seen the benefits.

She is trying to get back to work after having children.

Cara said: “Whether you are just starting off or you are coming back to work after a time gap, it boosts your confidence.

“I was nervous about selling myself before I came here but it has been really helpful.

“I have been updating my CV and looking for work and have already applied for two jobs.

“When my time is done here I will have taken so much away that I can carry on looking by myself.”

Volunteer Ellis Parker, from Morton, helped set up Toolbar and says the group offers more than just job advice.

He said: “People come with a lot of baggage. It’s important for them just to talk to people.

“One man that came to us was clinically depressed. For the first few weeks he just wanted to talk to someone.

“After a while we got him looking at jobs and careers. He wanted to work outside so we got him a volunteering role at Burghley House, working in the gardens.

“Through that he got a job when a vacancy came up at Burghley for an apprentice.”

Daniel Templeman, 25, from Westbourne Park, Bourne, is one of Toolbar’s recent success stories.

He wanted to start up his own business so turned to Toolbar. With their help he got support from the Prince’s Trust to start Temple Therapies, which has been running from Wake House in North Street for three weeks.

Daniel said: “Toolbar was great, a real help.

“They have helped me with anything I needed and suggested ideas for my business.”

Daniel still visits Toolbar, giving out free massages to relax people before interviews.

Helen Hobling, from Bourne, used Toolbar for about eight months after suffering problems with her confidence.

She is now a support worker for disability charity Mencap.

She said: “The welcome I got and the help Toolbar gives is fantastic. It keeps you positive.

“The main change since getting a job is that I feel like I fit in. When you are out of work you feel like people are pointing at you and saying that you are sponging. When you get into work that lifts.

“Toolbar is very important for the people of Bourne.”

If you or your organisation can help fund Toolbar, call Neville on 01778 425313.