Stephen Timms, the Member of Parliament for East Ham, paid a visit to the Working Links offices at Bow Road, Stratford on Friday 10 October. Mr Timms chatted with staff about their work at the project, as well as being given a tour of the facilities by Yasar Raja, a Performance Manager. He also met with some of those benefiting from the services on offer.
Working Links was set up in 2000 with the aim of supporting people into long-term employment. They operate across the UK and boast the impressive record of having helped 100,000 people nationwide – including 20,000 in London. They have a contract with Department for Work and Pensions to deliver their service in East London.
Until the previous week, Stephen Timms had been the Government’s Minister for Employment at the Department for Work and Pensions, and so he was particularly interested to learn more about the work performed locally by Working Links. While at the DWP, Mr Timms worked on policies to help people back into work, recognising that finding employment can improve people’s lives in areas far beyond their bank balances.
Working Links’ own research suggests that 78% of those they help are more satisfied with their lives now they are back in work, while 60% believe that work has improved their self-confidence. And it appears that their work is having a lasting impact: a year on, 70% of those they help are still in work.
Speaking afterwards, Stephen Timms said: "I greatly enjoyed my visit to the Working Links offices in Stratford. I firmly believe that getting people into work is one of the most important jobs of any government. Not only is employment the best route out of poverty, but it also tends to make people happier with their lives. Organisations such as Working Links perform an important role in partnering with the Government, and I am delighted that many people from Newham will be able to benefit from their work in Stratford".