THREE new employment and skills hubs in South Somerset will provide support to residents aged 16 and over in the district who are without work, training or are unemployed. 

The hubs, known as Opportunities Hubs, will be based in Yeovil, Chard and Wincanton and were created by South Somerset District Council in partnership with the Department of Work and Pensions. 

The first hub opened at Chard Library on Monday, November 1, with a dedicated space where residents can meet an advisor, discuss employment and training opportunities, and receive mentoring support. 

Hubs in Yeovil and Wincanton will open at the beginning of December. 

The coordination, delivery and continued development of the hubs will be undertaken by Abri, one of southern England's largest housing providers. 

Abri's employment service will use its expertise to develop staff, volunteers, tools and systems at the hubs to provide a creative, flexible and resilient employment support and service.

Michelle Dawson, director of housing and community investment at Abri said, "We know that securing training opportunities or sustained employment is more than just skills and experience.

"We want to create a community; working with our partners and other agencies to, not only offer support, but bring residents together.

"That is why we will also have learning opportunities and training to help people develop financial independence and encourage good health and wellbeing.

"It’s what our Community Strategy and five-year £15m investment is all about - creating thriving communities and empowering people."

Between 2020 and 2025, Abri has pledged to invest £15 million in communities to increase employment, improve health and wellbeing, and empower people to "take the lead where they live". 

The housing provider is also set to build at least 12,500 new homes by 2030. 

Talking about the new hub in Chard, councillor John Clark, portfolio holder for economic development including commercial strategy, said: "The opening of this hub reflects the importance that South Somerset District Council places on skills and employment.

"It is vital that we upskill to increase wages for our community and productivity for our businesses, and this hub is an important step."

For more information or to make an appointment with an advisor, visit the Opportunities Hub in Chard or its new website:

The website also promotes and exhibits opportunities for anyone looking for a new job, training opportunities or wanting to improve their existing skills.