A NEW job club has been set up to tackle unemployment in one of Croydon's most deprived areas.
The New Addington Job Club will be open for all and is targeting unemployed young people, as well as providing special help for autistic jobseekers.
The latest census showed that 7 per cent of 16 to 74-year-olds in New Addington ward and 8.4 per cent in Fieldway were unemployed, compared with 5.2 per cent across Croydon.
Of 16 to 24-year-olds, 2.5 per cent were unemployed in New Addington ward and 3.4 per cent in Fieldway, compared with 1.4 per cent across the borough as a whole.
Jayne Laville, a lead organiser of the club, said: "There are lots of young ones in New Addington and Fieldway who might never think about presenting themselves to something like this.
"But I know them and I have grown up with them.
"I know their mothers and I tick all the same boxes, so they listen."
The club, which will be open on Tuesday mornings in The Octagon, Central Parade, has been set up with funding from the London mayor's office and is being supported by the area's MP Gavin Barwell.
Volunteers will help jobseekers compile CVs and prepare for interviews, before referring them to local employers, vocational and training courses, and work experience placements.
Andy Stranack, a former Conservative parliamentary candidate, who runs a similar club in Monks Hill, said he hoped to help jobseekers "break down barriers".
He said: "A lot of people who come have got low self-esteem and low self-confidence.
"For example, some of the young mums say, 'I have just been looking after my children' – whereas in fact that gives you a lot of transferable skills."
New Addington resident Mark Rochester, who said he had been unemployed for about five years, attended the launch on Tuesday.
He said: "I think it should be good. It's looking like it is going to be a little bit more old-fashioned in its approach, but professional. In central Croydon it is about computers and just moving you on; this looks like it is more about people getting involved a little bit more.
"It is very frustrating [being unemployed]. Everyone needs a job."
New Addington councillor George Ayres said the scheme was a "wonderful exercise in local concern and commitment".
He added: "The problem of unemployment and the implications of lack of employment are going to get greater as more and more people have their benefits cut."