Council promises support for Hartlepool workers ahead of BHS closure

BHS is one of the key stores in Hartlepools Middleton Grange Shopping Centre.

BHS is one of the key stores in Hartlepools Middleton Grange Shopping Centre.

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Around 40 BHS staff in Hartlepool who are set to lose their jobs when the town’s store closes have been assured of support in getting back to work.

Hartlepool Borough Council has vowed to help the workers when the shop, in Middleton Grange Shopping Centre, closes for the last time on Saturday.

As a council, we will help in whatever way we can to help and support staff through this difficult period

Coun Kevin Cranney

Council regeneration chiefs are offering them help in a number of areas.

Coun Kevin Cranney, Hartlepool Borough Council’s chair of regeneration services committee, said: “It is hugely disappointing to see BHS close, and our thoughts are with the staff affected and their families.

“As a council, we will help in whatever way we can to help and support staff through this difficult period.

“There are a number of ways in which the council can help whether its support to get back into work, setting up your own business, re-training as well as benefit advice.”

Hartlepool Working Solutions offer a range of support to job seekers, including on how to start your own business and information, advice and guidance to get you back into work. For more on their service, call 01429 284482 or visit www.investinhartlepool.com

People can get help and advice on a range of benefits, including council tax benefit and housing benefit by calling 01429 524188 or visiting www.hartlepool.gov.uk/benefit-support.

Those who would like to return to education can call tjhe council’s adult education service 01429 868616 or visit www.haded.org.uk

Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) provides help and support to those aged between 15 and 29 who are unemployed, not in education or training. For more call 01429 857080.

Hartlepool’s BHS will be one of the fashion chain’s first 20 stores to close.

It will stop trading on Saturday, which comes just over a month after it was revealed BHS was to disappear from Britain’s high streets. Up to 11,000 jobs are to go nationwide as a result of its collapse, after administrators failed to find a buyer.

Administrator Duff & Phelps are now starting the process of winding down BHS’s 163 stores, with Hartlepool one of the first to go.

Also shutting the doors for the last time will be the BHS stores at St Helens, South Shields, Southport, Warrington, Slough, Truro, Stirling, Lisburn (outskirts of Belfast), High Wycombe, Ashford (Kent), Clydebank, Preston, Yeovil, Basildon, Peterborough, Newport, Stratford-upon-Avon, Wigan and Burton-on-Trent.

Hopes had been raised that last-ditch bids from former Mothercare boss Greg Tufnell and Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct could rescue the stricken retailer, but they ultimately fell short.

The stores which remain are in close-down sale mode.