AS part of The Westmorland Gazette’s Action For Jobs campaign, this week we focus on a brand new local Job Club to help people aged 50 and over find work.

The initiative has been launched in Kendal by Age UK; the local branch of the national charity.

The new informal drop-in sessions will include tuition on writing CVs, interview techniques and job searches.

Penny Pullinger, client community services manager at Age UK, said the charity had identified ‘a real need’ for the support after national data showed that nearly half of the unemployed men and women aged between 50-64 have been out of work for more than a year.

Mrs Pullinger said Age UK South Lakeland had been referring an increasing number of people to food banks, showing how serious the situation has become.

“There are so many different reasons why this has become a problem for people over 50 – there are people who perhaps expected to retire early who now find their savings don’t go as far as they thought, people who are getting laid off, people who maybe have been doing a fairly stressful or physically exhausting job which they are not able to continue with.

“There are also issues which specifically affect older people more such as the fact that a lot of them will still have mortgages, and many will be unfamiliar with using the internet, which is a necessity when applying for jobs now.

“We can help people with things as simple as setting up an email address.”

Joe Naylor, community agent for Kendal, who will be running some sessions, said: “People need their confidence building up if they have been out of work.

“We’ll provide them with opportunities to close that gap and get their social skills and interpersonal skills to a level where employers will start looking at their CVs again. The club will be held at the Gateway Centre, Gillinggate every Monday morning from 10-noon.”

Meanwhile, the portfolio holder for South Lakeland District Council and Deputy Leader, Coun Janet Willis has backed the Action For Jobs Campaign.

She said: “We welcome any project which helps people find jobs or suitable training. At SLDC we are determined to do everything we can to develop our local economy and create employment. In recent weeks we have announced our support for major investments at Ferry Nab and the Steamboat Museum at Windermere which will create significant numbers of new jobs. We are also working with developers to free up business sites across the whole of South Lakeland. This will create the best climate to attract high-quality firms into our area.”