Scottish Borders Council (SBC) has launched a new service for people who require additional help to find and sustain paid work.
The Employment Support Service provides a range of services, all designed to assist an individual to enter the workplace and move onto being able to work independently.
Support is available for young people leaving care, disadvantaged young people and those with a learning disability, physical disability or sensory impairment, as well as people who are recovering from a mental health condition or on the autistic spectrum.
Anyone who is homeless or under threat of being homeless can also access the service.
Councillor Stuart Bell, Executive Member for Economic Development, said: “SBC is committed to improving its performance in relation to supported employment and creating a workforce that is both representative of the Borders population as a whole and improves the quality of life for those people furthest from the labour market.”
The service was launched at the Welfare Reform Conference on March 7, where the Minister for Housing and Welfare, Margaret Burgess MSP, Michael Moore MP, and over 90 representatives from local Housing Associations, CABs, the Department for Work and Pensions, NHS Borders, and SBC gathered to discuss the impact of the Welfare Reform Act on the Borders.
The conference looked back at work done to mitigate the Act’s impact,including the removal of the spare room subsidy. Discussions also took place on what will be required to prepare for the introduction of Universal Credit, anticipated to be rolled out in the Borders during 2016.
Councillor Frances Renton, Executive Member for Social Work and Housing, said: “One of the main challenges has of course been removal of the spare room subsidy. I would like to encourage any housing association tenants affected to get in touch and see what help might be available through the Discretionary Housing Payment scheme. Application forms are available from any Council contact centre or by phoning 0300 100 1800. They can also be downloaded from www.scotborders.gov.uk/benefits.