Dress for the Job: Smart Works Charity Branch to Open in Leeds

By Molly Carr and Sam Brooke Wilkinson

Two portrait images side-by-side. both feature women smartly dressed in the 'Smart Set' collection.
Credit: Smart Works

New branch of charity, Smart Works, set to open in Mabgate area of Leeds.

A new branch of the women’s charity, Smart Works, has been opened in the Mabgate area of Leeds to help unemployed women get back into work by providing smart clothes for women for job interviews, as well as offering styling advice and interview training.

The charity says this will help support women in feeling more confident and increasing their chances of getting a job.

Smart Works is backed by Megan Markle who became a patron in January 2019. ‘I am excited to celebrate the launch of another initiative of women supporting women, and communities working together for the greater good’ says HRH, The Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle.

HRH. The Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle posing with 6 smartly dressed women at the release of the 'Smart Set collection.
Meghan Markle Posing for a photo with female volunteers for Smart Works. Photo Credit: Philip Panting

Smart Works’ official website says that ‘over 94% of our clients reported that a visit to Smart Works significantly increased their confidence in succeeding at their job interview’.

‘We are delighted to be supporting women across West Yorkshire, providing work outfits from our stock of high-quality clothes donated by the public, local businesses and retailers.’

Two portrait photographs, the first of a woman modelling smart clothing, sat on a sofa, the second a close-up of a smart work-bag.
Bag and clothing from the ‘Smart Set’ collection at Smart Works. Credit: Smart Works

St Vincent’s charity, also based in Mabgate believe that the area may not be fitting for this type of charity. ‘It’s not a very good area. [People] come in here thieving’ says Madge Cass of St Vincent’s. ‘There’s two empty boxes of kitchen tools’ that Cass says were stolen along with pairs of shoes.

A rail of smart trousers and jackets in St Vincent's charity shop.
The selection of smart clothes available in St Vincent’s Charity in Mabgate.

However, John Miller, also at St Vincent’s says ‘it is a good idea’ but ‘it should be everyone not just one group of people’

A rail of smart-casual shirts in St Vincent's charity shop.
St Vincent’s selection of clothing for all genders available for £1 each.

‘Smart Works changes women’s lives. Every woman we see is dressed and coached by our volunteers so that she feels exceptional.’

Juliet Hughes-Hallett, Chair and Founder of Smart Works.
 A shopping precinct in Mabgate, Leeds
A shopping precinct in Mabgate, the area where Smart Works is to be based.

Smart Works has gained various volunteers and is hosting a staff conference on Wednesday 6 November in preparation for their first clients next week. 

About the Author

This article was produced by a student or students on the BA in Journalism at Leeds Beckett University.

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