A BUSINESS-focused community charity has celebrated helping 85 qualified, mature people to find new roles last year after they had lost their jobs or were made redundant.

Since the M3 Job Club (M3JC) started in 2011, its team of trustees, helpers, local small to medium enterprises and corporate volunteers have now supported a total of 555 people from Basingstoke and areas such as, Alton, Farnborough, Farnham and Andover in finding new roles.

News of the club’s success was given at its end of 2017 meeting, attended by Basingstoke MP Maria Miller and guest speaker Dr Mike Short, CBE, chief scientific advisor at the International Department of Trade.

Club chairman Richard Thayer said: “It is becoming increasingly recognised that we are a valuable resource to the local business economy. This year, we have welcomed 147 new members, an average of 12 people per month, who have all been given valuable coaching, guidance and advice from our team of volunteer experts. This helps them in their quest to get back into work, or offer other work options such as contract work or becoming self-employed.

“An average of seven members per month have returned to employment.

“The year has been another watershed and we are grateful for the support we receive from Maria Miller in raising awareness of our work and to Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council which has provided funding to help us carry out our work. However, we still seek funding from sponsors and patrons to ensure we can continue supporting the local business economy in such a valuable and positive way.”

Coming from a wide variety of professional backgrounds, all members helped have been referred to the club by their local Jobcentre Plus or through personal recommendations and other business contacts.

Mr Thayer added: “2018 will be a particularly exciting year as we will be offering new workshops and one-to-one personal coaching to our members.

“M3JC has also been nominated for the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services and we will find out in June if we have been successful in attaining this prestigious honour.”

For more information about the club, go to m3jobclub.co.uk.