JOBCENTRE staff in the county have been brushing up on their DIY skills to help local families.
Staff recently helped transform Blackburn Family Centre as part of a new volunteering initiative.
The Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) Community 5000 Scheme gives staff with the opportunity to volunteer with local voluntary or community organisations.
Jobcentre Plus business manager Linda Kirk explained: “Blackburn Family Centre provides a range of support to local families such as a breakfast club that feeds over 40 children a day and low cost childcare through its creche.
“The centre hadn’t been decorated for years and was definitely in need of a make over. We thought that this would be an ideal opportunity to help out the local community.”
Staff from the Bathgate, Broxburn and Livingston Jobcentres swung into action by holding fundraising activities, collecting over £500 and securing free decorating materials from a local DIY centre.
And over four days in September, 23 Jobcentre Plus staff, along with other volunteers, set to work painting almost every room in the centre, put down new flooring for the entrance area and the main hall.
Linda continued: “There was a great atmosphere over the four days.
“We really enjoyed getting to know the other volunteers at the centre and they treated us to homemade soup and sandwiches for lunch.
“Everyone worked really hard to get as much done as we could and we have left equipment such as ladders and rollers with the centre so that they can complete the project.”
Senga Sewerynski, chairperson of Blackburn Family Centre Board said the help the Jobcentre staff gave really lifted their hearts.
“We are delighted to see this place transformed and the service users are so happy
“Before, it was dull and a bit smelly due to the old flooring and not having been decorated for so many years.
“The work done has attracted the attention of one of our local councillors who did not realise we were in such a bad way and as a result we may get further help.
“With these brighter, more attractive premises we have now drawn up a letting policy to try and generate some income for the centre.
“We want to really thank all of the Jobcentre staff who helped and have invited them back to see the finished product.”