An initiative in Torrington to help people back into work is celebrating successes despite the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Torrington Job Club was set up in January off the back of grant funding from the European Social Fund and the Education and Skills Funding Agency.

It offers a free and friendly course to support people into work, or an appropriate course to boost skills, as well as guidance with CVs and cover letters, and mock interviews to help people through the job application process.

The club meets at Torrington Town and Community Hall every Monday from 10am until 1pm.

Co-ordinator Iain Harris has seen an increase in the number of people attending each week, and is aware that number may increase more as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said: “Unfortunately, we are facing very challenging times and we need to do all we can to help get people back in work.”

Despite the challenges, the club has helped two Torrington men increase their options thanks to a grant from the Great Torrington Town and Land Charities to further their skills.

After losing his job as a welding fabricator at the onset of the pandemic, 35-year-old father-of-three Darryl Laughton has been able to learn new skills.

He said: “My partner Jasmine works part-time at Tesco and the drop in our weekly income was a massive blow to us as a family.

“Iain managed to find a vehicle accident repair course for me to attend at Petroc and this has given me new hope and widened the possibility of me securing work in the future.

“There were no jobs in the welding sector but now I am doing something I love, learning new skills and hoping to find a job after my one-year course ends.”

Jacob Lock has also managed to boost his skills by gaining a competency certificate in construction.

The 29-year-old lost his job after losing his driving license, and has been unemployed for two years.

He said: “When I came to the Job Club I explained to Iain that I wanted to get back into the construction section and when he suggested that he would try and find funding so I could get an upgraded Construction Plant Competence Scheme and increase my job prospects, I was thrilled.

“I would advise anyone in Torrington or surrounding area who looking for employment to visit the Torrington Job Club because they are so supportive and give you real hope during these hugely challenging times.”

Great Torrington Town and Lands Charity chairman Richard Rumbold said: “It gives the Trustees a great deal of pleasure to know that we have helped these two gentlemen improve their job prospects at this difficult time and we wish them every success in the future.”

Torrington Job Club runs from the Torrington Town and Community Hall every Monday from 10am to 1pm .

New clients should ring 07377563829 to arrange an appointment to sign up to the project. Alternatively, you can call into Torrington Town Hall on a Monday between 10am and 1pm to arrange an appointment.

Applicants must bring ID which confirms the right to live and work in the UK as well as a benefits notification letter or JobCentre Plus confirmation or referral.