THE Salvation Army and UK drinks manufacturer Clearly Drinks are jointly funding a project to create employment opportunities for people in the North East. The region has been highlighted by the Government as a priority area through its £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund[1]

Clearly Drinks will part-fund a new Employment Development Co-ordinator role, based in Sunderland. The co-ordinator will work with partners, organisations and community groups in the North East to identify and access employment opportunities across the region.

Nationally, Sunderland’s local authority district is thirteenth highest in terms of proportion of employment deprivation.[2]

Clearly Drinks has supplied food donations and resources to The Salvation Army’s Swan Lodge Lifehouse, a residential centre for homeless adults, which opened up the opportunity to support the new role.

North-East England Divisional Commander Major David Burns said: “We’re grateful for the support of businesses such as Clearly Drinks who match our commitment to our community and our drive to help lift people out of unemployment and poverty.

“The Government will soon be providing £4.8 billion for Levelling Up across the country and the North-East is marked as a priority. Every day we work with people who are being pushed even further from employment as local businesses close, or they are trapped in a cycle of low-paid seasonal work and zero hours contracts.

“In Sunderland, for example, we offer emergency food to struggling individuals, training and access to further courses and assistance. We hope that in bringing targeted employment services to the North East, we can help people reach their full God-given potential, help them find value in the work they do as well as a sustainable way to support themselves and their families.”

CEO of Clearly Drinks, Mick Howard, said, “At Clearly Drinks we are committed to helping those who are either homeless or unemployed by providing training and employment opportunities at a local level by supporting the work of The Salvation Army’s programme.

“We are more than just a drinks manufacturer – we strive to support people where needed and this includes providing employment opportunities to those who are most in need or vulnerable, which also helps to improve employment rates in Sunderland. As a business, we care about supporting, educating and giving back to the communities around us. The people of the North East have been a big part of our story for the past 135 years and we wouldn’t be where we were without them. That’s why we chose to work with The Salvation Army, who make a real difference to lives.”

The Salvation Army has 150 dedicated employment specialists whose support can be accessed in person or remotely via its 650 churches, community centres and Lifehouses. These specialists offer tailored support with job training, apprenticeship schemes like Kickstart and help people find and stay in work.

  1. The Salvation Army has identified 45 areas in England from their research report (of 116 areas) that should be included for ‘priority 1’ funding. This equates to 38%.

[2] According to the 2019 English Indices of Deprivation