Keen to find out the latest news about Wargrave Big Local, Conor McGinn met Damien O’Connor to talk about jobs.
Two years ago, Wargrave secured хЃ1 million over ten years from the Big Lottery Fund to create a plan for what the area needed.
Local residents volunteered to run community events and put the first plan together through a partnership board, backed by Helena Partnerships and St Helens Council.
The project has five themes: financial inclusion, environment, health, community safety and employment.
Conor met local resident Damien who volunteered to chair the employment sub-group, working alongside Helena, Jobcentre Plus, St Helens Chamber of Commerce and training providers to raise aspiration and help those looking for work.
A recent success has been the work with JD Wetherspoon and its new pub, the Nine Arches, where a collaboration between the pub chain, Helena Housing and Wargrave Big Local has led to several local residents getting jobs at the new bar on Legh Street.
As well as talking about the project’s successes, Damien raised concerns over the Government’s proposed welfare reforms that could see more benefit cuts and hit the work of the Big Local Wargrave in helping people back into work.
Conor said: “It was good to meet up again with Damien to talk about the Big Local project and how it is making a real difference to people lives in Wargrave.
“The collaboration with Weatherspoon’s has proved a real success and shows what can be done when the community, private sector and other agencies work together.
“But we don’t want to see this good work undermined by central government and that’s why I will be closely scrutinising the upcoming green paper on welfare changes and talking to people like Damien and all the volunteers at Big Local Wargrave who are working hard to improve job opportunities for local residents.”