UNEMPLOYED people could find work by volunteering for local charities.

The Pertemps Employment Alliance (PEA) - an organisation running Government-funded initiatives - has seen an increase in people in work after spending time helping local charities.

Organisations such as the Guisborough Bridge Project, which relies heavily on volunteers, is one of the schemes to benefit.

Jeff Cotton, of PEA's Employment Zone, in Redcar, said: "When I was unemployed, I used to go down to the Guisborough Methodist Church Hall and help on the Soup and Rolls project for the charity.

"When you are unemployed, you can quickly lose the network of people around you and that can lead to a vicious circle, which leads to low self-confidence, depression and all sorts of problems, making it much more difficult to get back into work.

"By volunteering, you get out and meet people and it is amazing what you can achieve through word-of-mouth. We have seen people gain confidence just by being part of a group of people again, and that alone is important."

The Bridge Project is a registered charity run almost entirely by volunteers.

Linda Kirkby, who runs the charity, said: "We run many projects to help those less fortunate, and most of them involve socialising and meeting new people. By volunteering, you are creating an opportunity to gain valuable work and life experiences, get references and even qualifications. By helping others, you truly can help yourself too."