The Mall Blackburn is continuing its support of Bootstrap Enterprises by extending the offer of a free unit until the New Year following a hugely successful summer.
Bootstrap opened its Rebound Bookshop, which sells quality second hand books that have been donated by members of the public, in July.
The not for profit organisation also took the opportunity to offer retail training as part of its Job Goal Retail provision.
So far, it has raised over £4000 and provided training that led to employment for a young man from Darwen.
Thomas Smith, aged 19, was referred to Bootstrap’s Access to Employment Retail Programme through the Job Centre after he found it difficult to find work following completion of his media, photography and IT studies at Darwen Aldridge Community Academy.
He carried out an eight week work placement at the Rebound Bookshop, where he gained customer service skills, learned how to run a warehouse and developed an understanding of merchandising and stock management.
Throughout his time on the programme Thomas was supported with searching for jobs and given practical advice on tailoring his CV. He also attended one to one sessions to brush up on his interview techniques.
Shortly after completing the eight-week programme he secured a job at Minerva Crafts in Darwen.
He said: “I have found that my communication skills and confidence have grown considerably. My confidence previously would not let me talk to people, without the course I would struggle to find work. I have also encouraged friends and family to join Bootstrap who are looking for support with finding work.”
Elizabeth Taylor, Chief Executive at Bootstrap Enterprises added: “It is great to see Thomas’ journey and how he has developed transferable skills.
“Thomas has now successfully secured paid employment and one week after he started his manager confirmed that he has settled in and feels he will be a great asset to the company.
“The Rebound Bookshop has raised vital funds that allow us to continue to help people seeking retail employment with on the job training.
“We are delighted to be remaining in The Mall until the New Year, and I would urge anyone who is interested in a career in this sector to call 01254 680367 and speak to my colleague Katie for more details.
“Our best sellers have been crime fiction and cookery books and as we rely on donations we are asking members of the public to clear out their bookshelves ahead of Christmas!”
Loraine Jones, General Manager at The Mall Blackburn, concluded: “Bootstrap Enterprises is a fantastic community organisation that helps people across East Lancashire into employment.
“We loved hearing about the training and help that Thomas received and wish him all the luck in the world for his new job.
“The Rebound Bookshop is a treasure trove for booklovers of all ages and shoppers will be able to pick up some fantastic stocking fillers, and donate any pre-loved books, as we approach the festive season.”