STEPHEN Ineson’s life took a downward turn last year when he had to move out of his mum’s house because she couldn’t afford to look after him and his two younger brothers.

The 19-year-old went to live at Darwen’s James Street Project, a supported housing scheme for single homeless people in the town.

But today, (SAT) Stephen will start work after being offered a job at The Bridgewater pub in the town centre.

Pub manager Adam Hulme was one of a number of employers who took part in Darwen Jobs Fair at Darwen Aldridge Community Academy yesterday.

And he was so moved by Stephen’s story that he offered him the job, as a cleaner and cellar worker, there and then.

He said: “The plan was always to recruit someone today as I knew last week that I had a vacancy.

“I decided to wait until today rather than advertise the job as this gave me an opportunity to meet people face to face.

“I already employ someone from the James Street Project.

“I believe people need a chance and some people won’t give them that.”

Stephen said: “I offered to move out of my mum’s house because she couldn’t afford to look after us all.

“She is managing okay now but it has been a real challenge for me and I have stuck it out.

“This is my first job and I am really proud of myself.”

The fair was organised by town MP Jake Berry and attended by more than 500 keen jobseekers.

There were representatives from a host of firms, including WEC, Crown Paints, Warburtons, the police and Capita, with hundreds of jobs on offer.

Mr Berry said: “There are just over 600 people in Darwen claiming Jobseekers Allowance and at least 300 vacancies here today, so we can put a big dint in the town’s unemployment figures.

“I have been overwhelmed by the response of all the Darreners who have come here.”