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Media invite: Government minister to visit Medway to discover how a flagship scheme is getting people back into work

Date: 28/08/2008           Category: Social Regeneration

Ministerial visit -Tuesday, 2 September Medway Council head quarters, Gun Wharf, Dock Road, Chatham And St Paul with All Saints Church, Magpie Hall Road, Chatham A government minister will discover how a hugely successful flagship scheme has helped more than 500 people in Medway overcome barriers to work during a visit to Chatham next month. Stephen Timms, Minister for Employment and Welfare Reform, will meet the staff at the helm of Medway Council’s highly successful Project Reignite on Tuesday, 2 September. Medway Council’s Leader Cllr Rodney Chambers, Chief Executive Neil Davies and Portfolio Holder for Strategic Development and Economic Growth Cllr Jane Chitty will meet Mr Timms at the council’s new headquarters at Gun Wharf at 12.30pm. Project Reignite supports residents who are either unemployed or on low wages and living in five deprived neighbourhoods to become more attractive to future employers. Dedicated neighbourhood outreach workers work closely with residents living in All Saints; Brook Lines; Melville and Brompton; Strood and Twydall. Since November 2006, Project Reignite and its sister project Score have empowered more than 3,000 residents, by equipping them with skills and qualifications or helping them overcome personal barriers, including health and housing issues, drug and alcohol dependency or a lack of self-esteem. The project also provides practical help like writing a CV, advice on personal appearance and how to seek employment. People have gone on to find jobs in industries as diverse as construction, security, retail and transport. Mr Timms will also meet some of the people who are being supported by the scheme, as well as those who have been helped back to work, when he visits the All Saints Community Centre in Magpie Hall Road, Chatham. He will also meet the project’s neighbourhood outreach workers. Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Strategic Development and Economic Growth Cllr Jane Chitty said: “Project Reignite has a growing reputation for its forward thinking and provision of services to local people from disadvantaged backgrounds. “I hope this visit will highlight the exceptional and hard work being achieved by everyone involved in this fantastic project. “We are very keen that innovative projects like this continues to add worthwhile value to mainstream employment support services. We are delighted the government is advocating support for locally driven approaches to getting the hardest to reach people into employment and off benefits.” Media crews are invited to learn more about Project Reignite and speak to Mr Timms at the All Saints Community Centre, St Paul with All Saints Church, Magpie Hall Road, Chatham, from 2.30pm. There will be an opportunity to ask Mr Timms questions at 3.15pm. Please confirm your attendance by calling Laura Patrick on 01634 332017 or email laura.Patrick@medway.gov.uk