Help disadvantaged women secure employment

Jul 11, 2014

#Uniquebecause Social Media Campaign

When Patricia came to Smart Works she had very low confidence and struggled to express herself. Within the time Patricia was at Smart Works, she opened up and her self-esteem was boosted. Patricia commented that she had never been around such ‘incredible, empowering women’ and that the whole experience had been a real inspiration to her.

Patricia said that our dressing volunteer Claire:

'made me feel very comfortable right from the start. She selected some very nice clothes of which I managed to get a beautiful outfit which made me feel so confident about my upcoming interview.’

Following the dressing session, Patricia had an interview session with our interview volunteer Sally which she found:

‘very insightful, I was given examples of how to effectively answer questions and also told what the interview would be looking for. I feel very confident about the interview now!’

Patricia went on to get a position as a Customer Service Assistant at Lloyds TSB and has been enjoying her experience there, she said that the visit to Smart Works had a huge impact on the way she sees herself and has changed her outlook on life.

This July, we have started a #Uniquebecause campaign to help clients realise that they are valuable to themselves and to their potential employer. We want to celebrate the different skills and attributes every individual has, and create a positive focus on the individual in order to increase their self esteem and sense of self worth.

The majority of our clients come to us lacking confidence and self esteem. Often they have spent so long out of work that they don’t know what to wear or what will make them feel confident. Many of our clients feel that they don’t really have value to bring to a job, and aren’t able to express why they should succeed in a job interview. We are asking people to get involved by telling us why they are unique on social media platforms using our campaign hashtag #uniquebecause so please join in!

We want to know what makes you unique, and help our clients realise that what makes them different is a positive thing, and that they should celebrate their differences and, in turn, feel confident about themselves.


Apr 15, 2014

Hear Our Client's Stories

With the help of Global Giving donors, we were able to make a short film detailing the vital work we do here at Smart Works. The film takes a look at the journey taken by three of our clients through their unemployment and shows the impact of their visit to Smart Works. It is a very moving and intimate portrayal which demonstrates that we all need a helping hand sometimes.

Please see our film here:

Our film opens with Kim talking about how demotivating and isolating unemployment is, having tried on some interview outfits at Smart Works she saw, in her own words, a “transformation.” Kim suggested that our dressing volunteers skills could rival celebrity stylists, “Gok Wan eat your heart out.” Kim also noted that the interview preparation session was “confidence boosting”. As a result of the self-belief that Smart Works helped to unearth, Kim has now gone on to become the Head of Customer Service at an international phone company.

Shyana had found it difficult being out of work, especially as she wanted to provide a more stable life for her children. Without prior knowledge of how to style yourself for a formal occasion, Shyana remarked that she was “happy to get the correct advice about what I should be wearing to an interview”, noting that, “all the staff were very friendly and quickly put me at ease.” Shyana left Smart Works with a spring in her step and was able to land herself a job close to her heart, as a Health Care Worker.

Mariam came to Smart Works after finding out that she had a shot at the Graduate Internship scheme which she had always dreamed of. Finding her way at university wasn’t easy, especially when suffering from depression, Smart Works had a real impact on Mariam’s life and future. “ I am absolutely overwhelmed with the generosity of the charity. I haven't felt so confident and good about myself in years! The fashion team were amazing and made me feel like I was worth something and could achieve something special-I have not felt this good about myself in YEARS. This was extremely inspirational! Thank you!”.

Smart Works changes lives day in day out and thanks to your contributions, we can continue to help more women and more communities.



Jan 16, 2014

Ready to face the world

Smart Works opened a new centre in West London in November with the support of generous donors both corporate and individual, including Global Giving donors.  Through this new centre we are able to provide support to many disadvantaged women in deprived communities in the west of the city who are desperate to find work and move on with their lives. 

Elizabeth was one of our first clients at Smart Works West London.  She had been out of work for over two years and was struggling to find work, which had affected her self-confidence.  Elizabeth was going for a job interview as a children's support worker when she came to Smart Works for help with interview clothes and interview training.  Elizabeth said she found the whole experience "fantastic."  She went on to say: "I was very surprised and happy not only with the experience but with my outfit.  I felt special, smart, heading for success.  I left the session feeling ready to face not just my interview, but the world."  Elizabeth was offered the job and she is now delighted to be working again.

Smart Works helps women like Elizabeth every day.  By making a donation to Smart Works, you are helping women turn their lives around and also helping to improve the life chances of their children and the wellbeing of their communities. 

Thank you for your support.

Oct 14, 2013

Restoring confidence to help women get a job

When Jessica (not her real name) came to Smart Works in October 2013 she had been out of work for two years and she had applied for over a hundred jobs.  Anyone who has struggled to find work will understand the demoralising effect of so many job applications and so many rejections.  Smart Works helped to restore Jessica's confidence and feel more positive about her chances of finding work.  This is how Jessica described the support she received at Smart Works:

"My overall experience today was really positive. The fabulous team really created an upbeat, caring and encouraging service whiich I found to be exceptional and rare -  a gem of a charity and I felt humble and happy at receiving the support including the dressing session, which was such fun, and the interveiw pointers were really helpful.  Here's to keeping my fingers crossed.  Much thanks and warmest wishes for your kind and much needed support.  The interview clothes are lovely!  Thank you so much."

Jessica did not succeed in her job interview but she is feeling much more positive about applying for jobs and she is hopeful of finding something soon. Smart Works helped 143 women like Jessica in September 2013.

Jul 17, 2013

Transforming women's confidence

Paula came to Dress for Success London in March 2013 after being out of work for four years. Her confidence was very low and she was struggling to cope financially.  Paula was going for an interview for a job as a business administrator and she needed to look smart for the interview, as well as brush up on her interview skills. Paula was successful in her interview and she is delighted to be working again.  This is how Paula described her experience at Dress for Success London: "I gained a huge amount of confidence to be surrounded by such lovely, confident and powerful women.  Coming to Dress for Sucess gave me back the confidence I had lost in the last four years.  It instilled faith into me that women are very supportive and that, surrounded by the right people, I could be a success again."

Paula is just one of over a hundred women who come to Dress for Success London every single month for help with interview clothes and confidence building.  Over 50% of the women we support go on to secure employment within a month of their visit to Dress for Success London. 

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Project Leader

Joanna Hunter

London, United Kingdom

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