The closure of community job shops could leave some of the Tayside’s most vulnerable residents unable to access vital support, it has been warned.
Former Dundee Citizen of the Year Stella Carrington, 81, who was awarded a British Empire Medal in 2016 for her years of community work in Dundee, said ending the well-attended services could leave many residents struggling to secure work.
A document sent to community leaders earlier this month confirmed job shops run at the Ardler Complex, The Crescent in Whitfield and Arthurstone Library would hold their final sessions on September 24.
The service will also be discontinued at Douglas Community Centre on September 30 and at Kirkton Community Centre on October 2. Existing users will be assisted at Finmill Community Centre until December 18.
The Hub in Mid Craigie will now be a satellite for the council’s employability team, while the job shop at the MAXwell Centre “may continue” with staff from the centre.
Mitchell Street Centre and the Charleston Community centre job shops will “continue meantime”. The service at Lochee Community Hub will continue with DWP, volunteer centre and Lochee Hub staff.
Ms Carrington, who is also president of the Charleston Residents’ Association, warned those who struggle to use online job seeker’s services could be left behind by the closures.
She said: “Once again the people most needing help to find a job are being penalised. I thought we were doing our utmost for people seeking work, not putting obstacles in their way.
“People who access these services are sometimes unable to read or write very well. With the job shops, they were able to just pop in and get help. How are those people supposed to find work now?
“I feel that things are going from bad to worse really and they need to make savings elsewhere so people at the bottom of the barrel can get a chance.”
Kevin Keenan, Scottish Labour group leader on Dundee City Council, confirmed he had been contacted by many residents in his Strathmartine ward who are concerned.
He said: “I understand the frustration when people are active in their community and want the best for it. It’s important we make it as easy as possible for jobs to be brought into the communities and get people into work at a local level.
“The job shops are well attended and are run by people in their own areas who know best about what is needed to help their communities.”
Mr Keenan said he would write to council officers to ask what will be done to support residents who previously used the service and when this will be made available.
Dundee City Council confirmed employment support or jobs shops will continue to be delivered at The Shore and Menzieshill Community Centre.
It said the service will also continue at Ardler Community Centre and Library, although this appears to be at odds with advice given to communities.
A spokesman added: “Community Learning and Development support are delivered across a range of community venues and will be able to direct people to appropriate employability support.
“Services will be delivered most weeks of the year but venues may not be covered occasionally due to staff training and other issues.”