Future of Clitheroe Job Centre in the balance

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Consultations are being carried out on the prospect of relocating Clitheroe’s job centre to Blackburn.

The Clitheroe Advertiser and Times received an anonymous tip off from someone who uses the job centre claiming that the job centre service is moving to Blackburn.

A questionnaire is currently being handed out to those who use the job centre based on Lowergate in Clitheroe asking how they travel there and how they utilise the internet in relation to searching for a job or claiming benefits.

It also asks how often they travel to Blackburn and what method of transport they use.

A spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions confirmed that consultations were currently being undertaken to assess whether it is feasible to move the services provided at Clitheroe job centre to its Blackburn office.

“With the number of benefit claimants in Clitheroe dropping, and more people accessing our services online or over the phone, we are consulting on relocating our services to our office in Blackburn,” he explained. “This will still allow claimants access to the full range of Jobcentre Plus services while providing better value for money for the taxpayer. Our proposals take into account the needs of the most vulnerable claimants in Clitheroe, who we appreciate may not be able to travel to Blackburn, and Jobcentre advisers would be available in an office a short distance from the current Jobcentre in Clitheroe.”

Salvation Army Captain Elizabeth Smith, Commanding Officer at Clitheroe Corps (Church), who runs a weekly Job Club, said: “We are sorry to hear about the possible closure of the Job Centre in Clitheroe, and, as ever our priority at The Salvation Army is to support the community throughout this time.

“One of the ways we do this is the Job Club we run every Wednesday which provides advice and guidance to job seekers.

“We recognise that a number of our clients don’t have access to a laptop and can’t get online to job hunt which makes it hard for them to simply find out about jobs. Therefore, anyone visiting our Job Club can use a laptop and search for jobs online.

“We’ve found this makes a big difference to many of our job seekers and helps improve their chances of finding employment.

“Giving the people of Clitheroe the support and tools they need to help themselves is close to our hearts and something we’ll continue to do.”