The Custom House in King's Lynn. Picture: Paul Tibbs

A temporary Jobcentre Plus has opened in King’s Lynn town centre to help West Norfolk address the second-worst employment rate in the region.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) announced in March it was opening 639 temporary facilities across the country to help people back to work following job losses during the pandemic.

Housed in the former Peacocks shop in Broad Street, the Lynn Jobcentre  Plus will provide face-to-face support in a Covid-secure environment, aiming to help support people back into work or progress into new roles.

Latest figures from the Local Government Association (LGA) show West Norfolk’s employment rate for people aged 16 to 64 has dropped from 80 per cent in the first quarter of last year to 74.6 per cent by the end of quarter two in 2021.

It is the next-to-worst figure in the East of England region, second only to Luton in Bedfordshire.

Mims Davies, Minister for Employment, said: “We know this has been a challenging time for many people and that’s why we’re boosting our DWP Jobcentre support in every corner of the UK, including here in King’s Lynn.

“Every customer benefits from a dedicated work coach. They know the local jobs market and work with local businesses to match jobseekers to the latest nearby opportunities.”

The new Jobcentre Plus has a special focus on helping young jobseekers.

Mike Browne, the work coach team leader who oversees the temporary centre, said: “We are very excited to open the new site in Broad Street as this will bring a modern, state-of-the-art office to Lynn.

“This will allow us to welcome more people into a Covid-safe environment where we can give them the professional support they need to move forward knowing we are with them every step of the way.”