A FLOURISHING family restaurant pub chain has given Halton’s unemployed a fresh start.

The Hungry Horse has created 50 new jobs at its new Observatory pub in Queensbury Way, Upton Rocks in Widnes.

More than 1,000 people applied for the posts.

Around 85 per cent of the new recruits who live in Widnes and Runcorn were out of work, some for a long time.

General manager Gary McGovern, aged 50, said: “There is nothing more demoralising than being unemployed.

“The Job Centre was very helpful and provided a two week course to improve people’s skills.”

He said the pub has been very busy since day one and the new staff are coping brilliantly.

Mr McGovern said: “We haven’t just taken on young people. We recruited middle aged and older, more mature people. They’ve gone from strength to strength. You can see them developing. They want to get up each morning and achieve something.”

The only trained staff taken on were 14 chefs.

Dad-of-two Mr McGovern, who has worked in the brewery business for 25 years, started his career as a relief manager at The Wellington in Ditton.

He said: “I have always worked in a community-type pub.

“We cater for all ages here but it’s very much food led.

“I’d like to put something back into the community. I’m hoping to sponsor a local footall team and rugby team.

“Widnes is very much a regeneration area and we want to be part of that.”

Various space paraphernalia is dotted around the pub which took its name from the neighbouring Pex Hill observatory.

It is the 198th Hungry Horse opened by the Greene King brewery in Bury St Edmonds, Suffolk.