Silver Bullet


I was always a fan of the Lone Ranger.  Curled up in front of the black and white telly on a Saturday morning watching the adventures of the man and his horse who fought evil and dispensed justice. For reasons I never really understood he always used a silver bullet. Or rather he never needed to, but seemed to leave one behind as a sort of calling card.

The use of silver weaponry to reach effective solutions was not new. Horace, in his Odes, recorded that Philip of Macedonia was told to use silver spears when fighting evil, and there are numerous references in the 19th century to silver bullets being used to get rid of unwelcome supernatural beings.

And today we still use the idea of silver bullets as solving problems.  As Webster Dictionary says “Silver bullet: something that acts as a magical weapon; especially: one that instantly solves a long-standing problem.”

More often than not the phrase we actually hear, or possibly use, is: well there’s no silver bullet. We mean that there are is no one simply or straightforward answer to most of modern society’s complex, multi layered problems.

Well, yes and no. Research published recently showed that employment can have some silver qualities. As a recent report from the Local Government Association notes:

“Evidence shows that good quality work is beneficial to an individual’s health and wellbeing and protects against social exclusion through the provision of income, social interaction, a core role, identity and purpose.”

And this is not new.  The Marmot Report of 2010 said:

“Being in good employment is protective of health. Conversely, unemployment contributes to poor health.

In other words, if you have a job you are more likely to be healthy, happy; more likely to have friends and colleagues, be socially active and feel positive about yourself. And this is before we even start thinking about the economic benefits of employment; the ability to pay your bills and put something aside for holidays and houses. Pretty good outcome for one specific solution.

So at YourMK we are very proud not only of the physical and social regeneration we are working on, but the Neighbourhood Employment Programme (NEP) that we have run successfully now since 2012.

The Milton Keynes NEP is one of the largest and most successful in the region. It has helped over 1,700 people into work and over 6,000 into vocational training in the last four years, increasing every year. Significantly more than half of these people are still in work six months later.

Every one of those people will have experienced some of the additional and linked benefits of employment. The silver bullet effect if you like.

Our targets groups are the long term unemployed, single parents, those that are in housing need, 50+ year olds and those that have had mental health problems.

We are keen to expand our employment support work and have applied for new funding that will enable us to expand the support we offer to people who have mental health problems and those who claim Employment Support Allowance.

If you want help to get back into work, or move into new areas of work, contact us by calling 01908 252323, emailing us at nep@milton-keynes.go.uk or visiting our website, www.milton-keynes.gov.uk/nep.