Women for Women
This International Women's Month we wanted to share the work of Smart Works with you. It's a brilliant charity, whom Lily Charmed support.
Smart Works is a charity providing unemployed and vulnerable women in need with clothes, accessories and training for job interviews. It's powered by the donated time of over 300 volunteers at their 7 centres across the UK.
The Markle Sparkle
We first heard of Smart Works last Autumn through a Grazia article highlighting Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex's support for the charity.
Meghan curated 'The Smart Set Capsule Collection' comprising a classic tote bag, dress , suit and shirt designed by respectively John Lewis and Partners, Marks & Spencers, Jigsaw and Mischa Nonoo. For every bag sold, one is donated to the charity, helping to give unemployed women the confidence to get back into work.
At the launch event for the collection held at John Lewis Meghan explained the thinking behind the partnership with the High Street.
‘As women it is 100% our responsibility – I think – to support and uplift each other, to champion each other as we aim to succeed,’ she said.
'If this is going to be classics and essentials, what are traditional, quintessentially British brands I've been introduced to since I moved here that for me resonated, and I knew would resonate with a with a Smart Works customer?'.
Since becoming a patron Meghan has seen the work Smart Works does first hand on her visits - they report she 'rolled up her sleeves, asked questions and got stuck in. She dressed, coached, contributed: she really leaned in'.
Unemployed women are referred to the charity from prisons, refuges, mental health charities and job centres. Access to training and interview outfits are morale boosting , from the moment a woman walks through the door.
Interview Appropriate necklaces in Recycled Silver
Lily Charmed donates Good Luck Charm necklaces to the charity, this month we've selected Silver Wishbone and Four leaf clover necklaces - which we hope will bring luck and confidence to all that wear them.
Dionne has been unemployed for 6 months and rejected from over 50 jobs. She was keen to get back into work and support herself and her family.
'From the minute I got into Smart Works, I felt really comfortable. They were really welcoming.'
'I tried on clothes I wouldn't normally wear for an interview. It pushed me out of my comfort zone which was really nice.It was great to have that level of personal care.The moment which really helped me and the job was the session with the HR consultant because I was always getting the interviews and not getting the job at the end.I had lost confidence because I had been looking for a job for a long time. Speaking with the coach and going home and practicing in front of the mirror actually really helped with me .
When I got the job and spoke to my manager about why she chose me over the others, she said it was because I had that confidence. They believed in what I was saying and I came across as sincere'.
Success and Support
64% of Women go on to get the job after a month of visiting Smart Works and 94% felt more confident they'd succeed at their next interview. The support doesn't end, women who join the workforce are offered a 'second dressing' appointment so she has enough professional clothing to last until her first pay cheque. Clients can join the Smart Works network, meeting monthly for tailored sessions offering more support for their ongoing professional success.
Smart Works vision is to roll out their service across the UK so that any woman who needs their support can access it. Currently Smart Works have centres in North and West London, Reading, Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle and Edinburgh.
The charity's ambition is to add another centre each year over the next five years.
We'll keep you updated!
If you feel you can help - do contact smartworks.org.uk
Donations Link: https://www.justgiving.com/smartworks
instagram @smartworkscharity Charity Number 1080609