A SERVICE providing vital support to people out of work has celebrated its first anniversary.

The Links to Work scheme in the Focal Point Business Centre, Fleming Way, is a voluntary programme that provides support to people in need.

And to celebrate its first anniversary a celebration was held.

Tom Compton, 24, of Working Links employer services, which runs the project, said: “We have been successful the past year we have hit our targets by helping people get back into the workplace.

“Our team has grown so we are now covering from Salisbury to Swindon, working with the job centre to try and work more closely with the community of Swindon.

"We hope to do this by engaging with employers to help with access.”

With the scheme ever-growing and proving to be successful in a variety of locations in the UK, they now get up to 80 people a month walking through the doors with 20 of them expected to be placed into a job.

One woman who has been on the programme for eight months and has seen the changes in herself since joining is Tracy Starkey, 50.

“I had been ill for a little while and fell out of work, then the job centre recommended the Links to Work scheme.

"I was a bit nervous at first, but I was quickly put at ease by the staff.

"They understood that I was suffering with depression and anxiety and tailored the courses to help get the best development for me.

“They have given me coping mechanisms, ways to see the bigger picture and not to feel like the whole world has come crashing down at once.”

Mayor of Swindon Coun Maureen Penny went along to the celebration to mark the anniversary.

She said: “It's really important that we have a scheme like this because when people have been out of work for a while you lose confidence.

"You lose the ability to interview and you lose the ability to write a decent CV that will get you into another job.

“It's so important to be able to come into somewhere like this and be taught it properly.

"These people are good people who want to work they just don’t know how to get into the market. It is so important to have something like this where they can come in free of charge and learn how to do that."

Working Links is working in partnership with a number of Wiltshire-based voluntary sector organisations to deliver the programme across the county.

It helps anyone from the age of 16.

Jobseekers are given a 52-week programme where they are given one-to-one support, focusing on health and wellbeing, basic skills, confidence and motivation.

And they have a a health adviser to maximise their potential of finding a job.

To find out more about the Links to Work programme, call 07702 142463 or visit www.workinglinks.co.uk