Jenny Old at the Whitchurch job centre
Shropshire on the dole
As the credit crunch continues to bite, a group of Shropshire workers, who have lost their jobs, share their experiences of unemployment in the county.
Polytunnel at Rob Hill's fruit farm
At the age of 59, Rob Hill from Bridgnorth has found himself stepping into a job centre for the first time in his life.
Two years ago he invested £500,000 in a fruit farm in west Wales, but what followed were two of the wettest summers on record. His fruit crop failed, along with his hopes and dreams.
Rob Hill invested in the farm as a way to help his teenage son, who has learning difficulties. He said he wanted to secure a future for his son, by teaching him how to run a farm.
"I've just experienced a couple of years trying to live my dreams - and failed miserably," he said.
Job Centre in Market Drayton
Nationally, in the three months to August there was the biggest increase in the official unemployment figure since 1991.
In Shropshire, the number of people out of work and claiming benefit rose by 488 between July and September this year, according to the Office for National Statistics. Year-on-year, there was an increase of almost 800.
Personal circumstances often also play their part in the job market, as 28-year-old single mother Jenny Old knows only too well. The Whitchurch mother had to give up work at a gym, because a lack of set shifts prevented her from prearranging childcare for her four-year-old daughter.
Jenny's daughter has funded places at nursery for two and a half hours every weekday afternoon. Her mother also helps to look. However, juggling family and work is not easy.
Despite this, Jenny remains confident that she will find something to suit her and her daughter: "I'm quite a flexible person. I used to be in the forces, so I've quite good experience. I'm hoping people will pick up on that, and I will find something else."
'The factories only want to employ foreign workers'
Mark from Market Drayton used to be a motor home fitter, but he's been unemployed now for 13 months. He says: "There are factory jobs, but they only want to employ foreign workers. To tell you the truth, they are better workers.
"There are nine shops empty in the middle of town... it's not good enough. The Government needs to sort something out."
'There are no jobs at all in Market Drayton'
Women in Shropshire are also struggling to find work. One woman, who has been speaking to BBC Radio Shropshire reporter Nigel Dolman, said: "Voluntary work doesn't bring in the money."
last updated: 12/11/2008 at 17:39
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