In January, the Council-run Xcite for Parents programme looked set to close after the Mayor's London Development Agency (LDA) abolished the pilot scheme and its funding. The scheme had helped over 80 parents find jobs, in the process saving taxpayers an estimated £1m a year in benefit payments.
However, the scheme has been saved by its own success after the Council secured performance payments from a European Programme, also funded by the LDA, as a direct result of helping residents back into work. Combined with back office cost savings, this will enable the scheme to continue for at least six more months, and it will also now be open to other long term unemployed people and not just parents.
Cllr Bill Stephenson, Leader of Harrow Council, said:
"The Xcite scheme has made a real difference to the lives of scores of residents, supporting them to get back on their feet and into work, often after years of unemployment.
"I'm delighted that Harrow Council can continue this work, and even extend its reach, to help those residents who want to find work but are struggling in such a tough job market. We will do our damnedest to find yet more funding to continue and hopefully enhance the scheme.
"The longer you try to find a job the harder it can become, as your skills get rusty and your confidence dips. Xcite provides the support, motivation and guidance that people need, helping them to help themselves."
The programme has been renamed the Xcite Employment Project and will support residents to find employment through weekly work clubs. They consist of CV writing sessions, guidance on job applications, interviews, and job hunting, as well as motivational training.
Most of the workshops will run from the Harrow Civic Centre with additional groups meeting at The Beacon Centre in Rayners Lane and Savoy Community Centre in North Harrow . Two experienced job brokers run the sessions and will be training volunteers to provide additional support.
The scheme is open to any Harrow resident keen to return to work, and eligible to work in the UK .