Councillor rescues job club

August 30 2019

Cllr Andrea Reid

Cllr Andrea Reid

A KINGSWOOD councillor is showing her dedication to the area by funding a local scheme out of her 'own money'.
Cllr Andrea Reid was elected to the new Kingswood ward in May and has already funded a new venue to save the area's jobseekers' club.
Although councillors each get 'Member Awarded Funding' (MAF) of £3,000 to donate to local causes, Cllr Reid says this is too restrictive and she is happy to use her expenses fee to support projects.
Cllr Reid approached the Voice to ask if we could help publicise the new venue for the jobseekers' club, which had been under threat following the relocation of its previous venue at the old Kingswood Library.
When we asked if the money was coming from her MAF fund, she told us she was using her expenses pot to enable the group to restart as soon as possible.
The Labour councillor told Kingswood Voice: “I'm funding it from my own bursary. I consider the MAF funding too small an amount for all the good causes that are out there, and the need was urgent so it was simpler and instant.”
Each councillor gets a basic allowance of £11,637, which covers expenses such as travel so they are not out of pocket when covering their civic duties.
Councillors with additional responsibilities, such as the chairman of the council and chairs of committees, get an extra allowance on top.
Cllr Reid added: “The bursary is designed to cover the expenses of doing my job as a councillor, so that l can do what l need to do without personally being out of pocket. The way l see it, to fund the room hire and provide a new venue is simply an expense of doing my job.”
Cllr Reid, who has a background in employment mentoring and confidence coaching, said she realised how important it was to get the group up and running again.
"I want to be actively supporting people in Kingswood who are having difficulty accessing work or even having problems in knowing where to start. l want our jobseekers to have a calm, supportive and non pressured space.”
Kingswood's jobseeker and IT group had been based in the library but since the facility moved to the Civic Centre, it had been difficult to find another suitable venue.
Following Cllr Reid's offer,  , the group was able to start up at The Park Centre  from July 18.
The centre offers an IT suite along with a quiet room for one-to-one support and advice as well as for honing interview skills.  
Cllr Reid has teamed up with the charity Southern Brooks to deliver the group, which will take place at The Park Centre, opposite the Civic Centre in the High Street every Thursday from 1-3pm.
Staff include Rachel Herault, who many will know from the previous club, and Brian Nash who are both on hand to offer their expertise. Cllr Reid will also be available each week to offer her skills and support.