Charity slams Bolsover Job Centre closure plans

The former Cavendish Walk Job Centre, Bolsover
The former Cavendish Walk Job Centre, Bolsover

Bolsover-based charity the Freedom Community Project is urging people to sign a petition calling on the Government to halt plans to reduce job centres.

The town’s job centre is just one of many set for closure next year, forcing struggling jobseekers and unemployed people with disabilities to take lengthy and expensive bus journeys up to five days a week in some cases.

For those who currently use Bolsover job centre, many of whom live outside the town and already use public transport to get there, their only choice will be to attend Staveley Job Centre, which will be absorbing staff and client from Bolsover.

Jon O’Neill, client support manager, at the Freedom Community Project, said the Government would be making life much harder for vulnerable people by taking a service away from them.

He added: “People use the job centres for more than just signing on.

“Many are those with disabilities who are not fit for work on employment and support allowance who have regular interviews at job centres.

“And I can think of a few who cannot even get to Staveley due to their disabilities - there are people who suffer severe anxiety being around people and who know will have to get on buses to Staveley.”

Another job centre facing possible closure is Clay Cross - which could be merged with Alfreton.

A spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions told the Derbyshire Times the decision had been taken due to low usage at the sites but no jobs would be lost.

He also confirmed that if Bolsover benefits claimants were asked to attend the centre at Staveley more than fortnightly their travel costs would be reimbursed.

A consultation over the future of Clay Cross Job Centre is available by visiting www.gov.uk/government/consultations/proposal-for-the-future-of-clay-cross-jobcentre

For more information about the petition against the proposals visit https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/stop-job-centre-closures.