AN out-of-work former printer who has been unemployed for four years despite sending off more than 250 application forms and CVs has spoken of the worry of supporting his elderly mother on Jobseeker’s Allowance.
Graham Lyth has also described what it would mean to get his pride back if he could only find a job.
The 50-year-old is one of the faces of the Hartlepool Mail’s Work in Progress campaign, which aims to highlight the plight of the town’s unemployed and help people into work.
It comes as the latest figures showed the town has 4,633 unemployed benefit claimants.
Graham lives with his mother in the Chester Road area of town in a house she part-owns.
He is managing to get by on his £65-a-week Jobseeker’s Allowance but is desperate to be able to contribute more to help his mother with household bills.
Graham, who left his job with a printing firm four years ago, said: “I’m getting Jobseeker’s Allowance and that pays for my food and my share of the electricity, gas and bills.
“If it wasn’t for my mother I would probably be living in a rented house getting help from the council.
“Jobseeker’s Allowance covers my board and I have a little bit left for myself.
“But I don’t want my mother to go short. With me being out of work it puts more pressure on her.
“I would like to provide more and contribute more.”
He said he cannot even afford the “luxury” of his favourite CDs any more or a laptop to help him in his job search.
Instead, he relies on training and development organisations like the Wharton Trust, Triage and Avanta for the use of computer facilities.
Graham, a time-served machine operator with 25 years’ of experience, is looking for labouring, factory, production, assembly, groundwork, supermarket or warehouse work or other jobs where he can be “on his feet”.
He said he can count on one hand the number of replies he has had to his 250-plus job applications over the past four years.
Graham, who says he has even applied for cleaning jobs, but has found employers want experience, added: “There are quite a few jobs out there.
“But I can only apply for the ones that say no experience required if they are for anything new.”
He added: “I don’t like being unemployed.
“If I could get a 16-hour-a-week job at least I could say I’m not signing on and I’m not getting money off the Government. I could say I’m working for my money.
“Even if I was £20 better off, it wouldn’t bother me as long as I can say I’ve worked for the money.”
But Graham, who surprised himself by his versatility to change his hand from print to working on production lines and in a factory before leaving his last job, remains optimistic despite having so many knock-backs.
He said: “I just hope at the end of the day there’s work out there to be found.
“It’s just finding someone to give you a chance.”
Graham, who does not drive, added: “The thing I have found which could do with being changed to get people into work is that bus services could be put on earlier.
“I would consider working in Peterlee if there was a bus to get there.”