Centre braces itself for a huge impact

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A LYNEMOUTH community worker has warned of a massive impact from the loss of Alcan due to the numbers, skills and locality of its workers.

Lynemouth Resource Centre Manager Andrew Gooding will be at the frontline of support services for staff, but has no illusions about the scale of the task ahead.

“It is not just the number of jobs, but the kind of jobs that are being lost,” he said.

“These workers are predominantly the main breadwinners, well paid, skilled labourers and there are not that many of these jobs around.

“There are many generations or offshoots of the same families employed so it is going to have a very concentrated impact. It is Northumberland’s only regional scale employer, yet the vast majority of the workforce live within five miles of the plant.

“There is also the nature of jobs that need to be replaced, that is the real difficulty, and the profile of people working there. There have been redundancies over the years so the people left are in their 30s to 50s, who still need employment.”

Mr Gooding is also preparing to help sub-contractors and those in the Alcan supply chain who may need support.

But he says key to it all is new jobs coming into the area.

“The centre can be a hub for workers and we do offer a lot of training around employment skills, but I think the real crux is what collectively can be done to try to create more employment in the context of a really bad economic climate,” he said.

“Undoubtedly, the area needs more support and funding, but it doesn’t need a one-off gesture, it needs something that is going to have a sustainable impact over the long-term.

“A lot of the regeneration following the pit closures was about physical regeneration. Now we need social and economic regeneration. That is really what is going to drive change in the long-term.”