At the Big Futures Show 2024 …

… this year’s winners of  our friendly competition to find the fastest sorter of good and not so good things to do in interviews. … was Chailey school in a time of 11.04 seconds. Congratulations.

When the BBC came to visit …

… on the eve of the 2nd anniversary of the start of the war in Ukraine, the BBC visited our office and interviewed our very own Olena about her experience of relocating to the UK and Eastbourne.

The View from Ukraine …

Our own Keith and Olena were pleased to be invited to attend the recent Eastbourne Chamber of Commerce European Movement Dinner at the Hydro Hotel, where the guest speaker was Mr Eduard Fesko, Head of Mission at the Ukrainian Embassy in London. Mr Fesko spoke about how the war in Ukraine is progressing and what the future holds in Europe.


Jobs Fair – Bexhill

Over 70 jobseekers and 18 exhibitors attended our Moving on Up – Opening Doors jobs fair event in Bexhill. Thanks to The Pelham for hosting us and thanks to all those who supported the event.

Opening Doors – Newhaven

Over 80 jobseekers and 27 exhibitors attended our jobs fair event at Denton Island, Newhaven. Thanks to SCDA for hosting us and thanks to all those who supported the event.

Opening Doors – Eastbourne

Over 100 jobseekers and 20 exhibitors braved the weather and attended our jobs fair event at Eastbourne Town Hall. Thanks to Eastbourne Borough Council for hosting us and thanks to all those who supported the event.

Heathfield … here we come …

In early autumn 2022, we were awarded funding by East Sussex County Council to extend our Career Information, Advice and Guidance (CIAG) services to Ukrainian residents living in rural Wealden. Since then, outreach services have been provided at rural & semi-rural Ukrainian Hubs, as well as in other community venues in Hailsham, Hellingly, Heathfield and Crowborough.

As a direct result of successful engagement with the Ukrainian community, we were asked by local agencies to extend support to other jobseekers living in Heathfield, who were otherwise unable to access services easily. Prior to the grant award, limited resources only allowed us to support jobseekers in Heathfield once a month on a rota with the other aforementioned locations. We are delighted that following an award of £10,000 made up of funding from the Gatwick Foundation Fund and the Glenn & Phyllida Earle Fund at Sussex Community Foundation, a member of the team can now be released more often to increase this vital provision and more intensively support jobseekers living in Heathfield.

CEO, Ann Gillard said, “Unemployment is a major life event which can have a devastating impact on people’s lives, affecting not just the individual but also family members and the wider community. The impact of unemployment can be long-lasting and far reaching, often affecting living standards in retirement and having a negative impact on physical health and mental well-being.  Community services play a key role in keeping people well and supporting people to contribute to their community. Employability support can be considered one of these essential services, providing vital help to jobseekers helping them to become more economically active. We are committed to this kind of holistic approach, building trust between agencies and services for the benefit of the individual, enabling them to make a positive contribution to the communities in which they live and work”.


A right Royal occasion …

… a lovely end to our 25th Anniversary year saw two of our longstanding volunteers attend a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace in recognition of our Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. Colin and Ray mixed and mingled with Royalty and other guests at the event. And even managed a quick word with Her Royal Highness Princess Anne.

Branching out …

… supporting individuals in rural Rother at the Burwash Pop-Up Advice Clinic. Initial discussions on how we can help jobseekers from the community and completing registration forms.

Anniversary update …

… we could say that in October our People Matter Paper People have been flying off the shelves … or rather, sponsorship has taken off and now almost 1/3 of the 16,000 Paper People have been sponsored with a smile … these are now being proudly displayed around the office walls.

If you would like to sponsor a paperchain person or a group of paperchain people (£1 per smile!), please visit our office to add your own smile, or use our ‘donate’ button, put ‘Paperchain People’ in the comment box and we can add smiles on your behalf.

Anniversary update …

… we now find ourselves 6 months in to our 25th Anniversary year.

In September, we held a very special anniversary dinner and fund raising auction which included a range of unique lots. As well as a sumptuous meal, we were also treated to an informal interview with a couple of former clients – one of whom is now an Oscar winning actress, and the other is now a presenter and reporter for the BBC. And we had a visit from a real life paper person!

Such a good evening was had by all, that none of us remembered to take any photos! … but here’s a montage of the special display commemorating our anniversary year and including our special guests and the random paper person … can you work out who’s who?

With grateful thanks …

… to the Rotary Club of Eastbourne for their generous donation. Graham Marsden, President handing the cheque to our CEO Ann Gillard.

Anniversary update …

… well, what a month August was for sponsoring People Matter Paper People … thanks to the kind generosity of sponsors, Billy is happy with his new found friends … and there are more Paper People positioned around the office who have been kindly sponsored. Many thanks to you all. If you would like to sponsor a paperchain person or a group of paperchain people (£1 per smile!), please visit our office to add your own smile, or use our ‘donate’ button, put ‘Paperchain People’ in the comment box and we can add smiles on your behalf.

Anniversary update …

… well, what a month July turned out to be. The third month in our anniversary year started with a Civic Reception at Eastbourne Town Hall attended by well over 100 current and former team members and invited guests for the presentation of our Queens Award for Voluntary Service. In mid-July, on a sunny Saturday afternoon, we were treated to a scrumptious lunch hosted by Amanda and Keith Ridley in their beautiful garden overlooking Friston forest.

And finally, we’re very grateful to St Elisabeth’s Church family who have kindly sponsored a whole host of our paper chain people. If you would like to sponsor a paperchain person or a group of paperchain people (£1 per smile!), please visit our office to add your own smile, or use our ‘donate’ button, put ‘Paperchain People’ in the comment box and we can add smiles on your behalf.

We’re now looking forward to the summer and into September to our Anniversary dinner and fundraising auction. If you would like to come along to the dinner on Thursday 15 September, please contact Sue Fifield by email:

Presentation night …

… a video taster of the presentation of our award – the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service by HM Lord-Lieutenant of East Sussex, Andrew Blackman to our CEO, Ann Gillard … and a longer presentation here

Anniversary update …

… month 2 of our 25th anniversary year and we’re still celebrating the news, earlier this month, that we have been awarded The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service – more on this next month when we’ll share pictures from the presentation of the award.

Meanwhile, we’ve been planted!

Many thanks to Lewes and Eastbourne Councils for including us in their planting scheme this year. You can find us in the Carpet and Seafront gardens to the west of the main garden, facing towards the pier.

And if you’d like to sponsor a paperchain person or a group of paperchain people (£1 per smile!), please visit our office to add your own smile, or use our ‘donate’ button, put ‘Paperchain People’ in the comment box and we can add smiles on your behalf.

Queen’s award crowns our special year …

We are delighted and thrilled that we have been awarded the UK’s highest volunteer accolade by the Queen herself – the QAVS – the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

On hearing the news, Ann Gillard (our CEO) said “For our volunteers today and for all those who have been part of our wonderful team on its 25 year journey, this is the ultimate recognition. What a very special chapter to be writing in our anniversary year.”

We have supported some 16,000 jobseekers towards employment through our career information, advice and guidance services. During our 25 years, we have constantly evolved to meet the changing needs of the jobs market. Through the Covid pandemic we supported more people than ever by operating remotely. Now we are embracing refugees, those in temporary homes, ex-offenders and veterans.

The QAVS is equivalent to an MBE recognising outstanding work by local volunteer-led groups to benefit their communities. We look forward to receiving our crystal award and certificate from the Lord-Lieutenant of East Sussex, Andrew Blackman, at a ceremony later this summer; and two volunteers will attend a Buckingham Palace garden party next year.

Meanwhile, we are also planning a number of celebrations and events to mark our 25th anniversary year and this award certainly crowns our special year.

Anniversary update …

… we’re one month in to our 25th anniversary year and plans for events and activities are well underway.

Meanwhile, we’ve started offering sponsorship of our Paperchain People – each paperchain person represents one of the 16,000 clients that we have helped in our 25 years. During this year, we will be displaying the paperchain people around our office walls. So far we have raised over £120. If you would like to sponsor a paperchain person or a group of paperchain people (£1 per smile!), please visit our office to add your own smile, or use our ‘donate’ button, put ‘Paperchain People’ in the comment box and we can add smiles on your behalf.

At the Big Futures Show 2022

… we were pleased to be part of the Big Futures Show 2022. Many students were keen to test their skills in sorting interview tips and hints. Claverham CC had the speediest student at 10.13 seconds. Well done to all who took part.

A little celebration …

… on Monday 25th April, we started our year of celebrations for our 25th anniversary!

Opening Doors The Jobs Fair

On 29th March, 30 employers and exhibitors set up ‘shop’ at the Eastbourne Town Hall and close to 200 jobseekers attended across the day. There was a real buzz around the exhibition halls and a great deal of engagement between jobseekers, support agencies and employers. We’ve already heard of successful matches between candidates and employers from this event. In the coming weeks, we will be continuing to support clients into work and to support employers in filling their vacancies. We will also continue to build on the new partnerships forged in putting this event together and look forward to progressing and making a difference to the local employment scene.

Newsletter: August 2021

Read our latest news in our NEWSLETTER August 2021

Received with thanks …

Former Mayor of Eastbourne, Councillor Steve Wallis presented us with a cheque for £15,560 from his fundraising events. This was a fantastic amount as he was unable to hold any events during the pandemic. We are truly grateful for this sum which will support our work.

From the Queen’s representative …

We were pleased to receive a visit from Deputy Lieutenant John Smith JP DL. He came with a message of thanks from Her Majesty The Queen for our work in supporting our local community during the Covid-19 Pandemic.

In memory of Mike Leighton …

Mike joined People Matter in July 2009 as volunteer Data Input Officer, a role which suited him down to the ground and eventually lead to him being ‘promoted’ to Data Manager.

Very much a ‘systems and process’ man, Mike was instrumental in the planning and introduction of processes to support the movement and recording of paper records and client data.  Although he dealt with many hundreds of files each year, his filing systems were second to none and meant his colleagues were always able to find what they needed.

Being methodical and organised gave Mike great satisfaction, something he mentioned several times during annual reviews, that, and the pleasure he gained in checking the monthly reconciliations with a fine-toothed comb!

The work wasn’t without its challenges though – mainly caused by having to adapt to changes to systems outside of the charity’s control – but Mike persevered, and it paid off.

Mike will also be remembered for his labelling of our pigeon holes – it must have felt like painting the Forth Road bridge, since almost immediately Mike had re-applied the labels alphabetically to the trays, someone would leave or join and mess up the system. Of course he also tried to cater for those of short stature in making sure their pigeon hole wasn’t at the very top!

A quiet and very private man, Mike nonetheless loved to be included in office lunches and social events.  He enjoyed being part of a Christian organisation and always attended morning prayer meetings and lunches, often assisting with food prep (his other great passion) and clearing away.

Mike had significant health issues during his 10 years of service, but he rarely complained and, remained steadfast in his faith throughout.









Remembering Joyce Ford …

… a much loved and respected former volunteer adviser at People Matter, sadly Joyce died in January 2021. Here are a few facts about and quotes, either about or from Joyce, compiled by Ann (our CEO) and reflecting on Joyce’s time with us at People Matter.

Joyce joined People Matter on the 6th of September 2001 as a Receptionist and typist, typing CVs for clients drafted by the advisers.

From Joyce at her first annual appraisal, “I am happy to help with anything”.

On the 1st of April 2004 she wrote “I would like to learn more about client advising, interview skills and helping with application forms” ….so, she did just that.  She started writing a regular newsletter for colleagues entitled “Joyce’s Jottings” (her idea) about some of the interesting or challenging clients she’d seen and how she had helped them.  At that point she was seeing a minimum of 3 clients a day, whilst training new advisers and helping the management team prepare for accreditation of the service.

A comment from Peter Moore in 2007 “Joyce has given a consistently high standard of IAG (Information, Advice and Guidance) services to over 300 clients to date.  All feedback forms have been positive and affirming of the excellent service given.”.

Never one to stand still and with a keenly enquiring mind, in 2010 Joyce completed Level 3 and Level 4 awards in Advice and Guidance, at the conclusion of which she received a Lifetime Achiever’s Award from the Head of training company who described Joyce as a prime example of someone who had wholeheartedly engaged in ‘later in life’ learning.  That wasn’t her only award though.  She was recognised for her contribution to the community with an Eastbourne Achiever’s Award.  She didn’t let it go to her head though!

During 2010 Joyce helped over 400 clients by writing their CVs and helping them with their job…a fairly average year since she’d started doing advice work in 2007.

During her appraisal in 2012 Peter asked Joyce whether she had any skills, abilities, or interests that she wasn’t already using but would like to use at People Matter.  Joyce’s reply “Not that I’ve yet discovered!”.  He wrote, “Joyce is an excellent and key member of the team.  Her hard work, consistency, reliability and dedication set the standard to everyone else”.

Like many of us, Joyce was sometimes frustrated by malfunctioning IT, bureaucratic paperwork and clients failing to attend pre-arranged appointments….but she was a problem solver and didn’t let anything stand in the way of her being able to help people, supported by tea and ginger biscuits, her quick wit and sense of humour.

Joyce continued volunteering with People Matter until her stroke.

She was a diminutive lady, always neatly turned out (as ladies of a certain age often are) with her hair permed and wearing her pearls.  Her appearance was deceptive though and sometimes gave clients, especially those in their 20s, the idea that she either didn’t have a clue or that she would be a complete pushover.  They very quickly discovered that neither was true!  I vividly remember one occasion (which actually became part of People Matter folklore) standing in Reception in Gildredge Road where 3 clients were waiting to be collected by advisers.  Joyce came into the room and spoke the client’s name. A young woman, duly followed Joyce out of the room, looking her up and down from behind and rolling her eyes in a condescending way as if to say, how on earth can ‘that old lady’ help me?  I remember thinking, just you wait until Joyce has finished with you, and was fortunate to be in Reception again when the session finished to hear the woman effusively thanking Joyce for her help.

Unusually, Joyce directly touched the lives of literally thousands of Eastbourne people – a remarkable legacy for a remarkable woman.

She is and will be fondly remembered by all of us at People Matter.

Newsletter: October 2020

Read our latest news in our NEWSLETTER Oct 2020

With thanks to Hart Reade …

after a year of fund raising, Hart Reade’s senior partner Alexandra Funnell presents our CEO, Ann Gillard with the proceeds from their events and efforts for People Matter as charity of the year.

Shirts to the fore …

further contributions of items for our growing wardrobe of clothes suitable for jobseekers’ interviews. With grateful thanks.

Hotel fire jobs alliance …

Business organisations and community support groups are joining forces to help people whose livelihoods have been put at risk by the devastating Claremont Hotel fire.

In a quickly-assembled alliance, town leaders are working together as a team to support hotel staff and their families, and to try to get them back into work as soon as possible.

At the campaign’s forefront is People Matter, along with the Eastbourne Hospitality Association, the town’s chamber of commerce, the Eastbourne Business Improvement District and Visit Eastbourne – the borough council’s tourism arm.

People whose jobs are affected by the blaze are being urged to make immediate contact with us, either by dropping in at our offices at 6 Saffrons Road (just behind the town hall) or by calling our switchboard on 01323 431289.

Charity chief executive Ann Gillard said: “It was a very sad day losing the Claremont but humbling to see the community come together to help those affected by the fire.

“At People Matter we understand how uncertain the future may seem to some staff. That’s why we are opening our doors with our specialist support to anyone affected.”

Through our qualified and experienced advisers and a specialist Working for You team that actively seeks out opportunities with local employers, we help hundreds of clients back into employment each year.

We have worked on a number of successful job initiatives with the chamber of commerce, whose president Richard Garland said it was also throwing its full weight behind the jobs alliance.

“We know that chamber members will also look to assist where they can and we will be communicating with them shortly,” said Mr Garland.  “We hope that something positive can come out of the horrific destruction and sad loss of this Grade II listed building.”

Eastbourne Hospitality Association’s vice chair, Kristian Hayter, added: “We have reached out to local authorities to create a partnership which will come together to support staff and guests at the Claremont.

“Our main concern now is with the staff. Christmas time is around the corner. Staff will be paid in the short term but one of the things we really want to do is to present them options with local employers.”

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The People Matter Trust Ltd is a Registered Charity No: 1062467 and is a Company Limited by Guarantee. Registered in England and Wales No: 03360047.

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