Tony Blair is one of the newest recruits at Preston’s Poundworld.
The new store on Corporation Street has created dozens of jobs for previously unemployed people from across the region.
And workers at the city-centre shop include Chorley’s own Tony Blair.
Thanks to a recruitment partnership between the retailer and Ingeus, which delivers the government’s flagship work programme throughout the north west, 28 people who were unemployed now have permanent jobs with the company.
The new store in Preston is now the first of its 276 UK outlets to be staffed entirely by former long-term jobseekers.
Two of those who are now delighted to be back in work are Chris Edwards from Ashton-on-Ribble and Chorley resident Tony Blair.
Tony, 45, has a young family to support, and found it hard to manage with very little money to spare.
He said: “I’ve always worked and always enjoyed the benefits that earning a living brings, so to suddenly find myself without a job and without an income was quite a shock.”
Chris, 30, last worked in the leisure industry before he lost his job.
With two children to support, he has spent the past two years trying to find work.
He said: “I didn’t want my children to lose out, but without a wage coming in, it became impossible.
“I couldn’t afford the essentials, let alone any treats and it wasn’t a nice feeling.”
Late last year, Chris and Tony were referred by Jobcentre Plus to Ingeus, where they received specialist employment support, including writing job-focused CVs and learnt new interview techniques.
Alongside this, they were encouraged to stay focused and keep applying for vacancies.
“We worked very closely with Chris and Tony and the rest of the new team at Poundworld, ensuring they were ready for work,” said Linzi Fairclough from Ingeus.
“This meant helping them build their confidence, and providing them with practical support so that they were fully prepared for work once again.”