This year, as part of our Making a Difference Together initiative, QVC UK will be showcasing a small selection of carefully chosen charities to help raise awareness of their important work and show support for those communities.
Right now, we’re shining a light on Smart Works (charity number: 1080609), a charity set up to help women build their confidence, get the job and transform their lives. We had a virtual catch up with Kate Stephens the Chief Executive at Smart Works to find out more.
Tell us about Smart Works and the important work that you do
Smart Works exists to empower women with the confidence they need to reach their full potential, secure employment and change the trajectory of their lives.
The women we support at Smart Works are at greatest risk of economic hardship and discrimination. In the last year 43% of clients had been unemployed for over a year, 25% had been rejected from over 50 jobs and 14% from over 100 jobs.
We help our clients by giving them a complete outfit of clothes and accessories followed by one-to-one coaching so that they can succeed at their job interview. It sounds simple, giving women the tools and the confidence that will help them get the job, but the impact is profound.
As we move forward from the pandemic our service has never been more needed and we’re determined that any woman who needs our support is able to find her way to one of our centres across the UK.
How does the support that you offer change the lives of these women?
In eight years, we’ve opened eight centres and supported 20,000 women. Over two thirds of our clients go on to get a job within a month of their appointment, and we are so proud of the tangible impact we have.
But Smart Works is more than numbers. Our aim is to create a safe space for our clients to realise their potential and feel like the best version of themselves ahead of interview. It isn’t just about the clothes they are gifted; it is about what those clothes allow each woman to become. It is always a wonderful moment when one of our clients looks in the mirror and begins to see hope and possibility for a better future.
The people who best describe the impact of the service are our clients:
“I was made to feel powerful and secure within myself. As well as just changing my wardrobe, it changed my outlook on work and life.”
We want to raise the profile of our charity so that we can take this service to even more women across the UK. It is our mission that any women in need should be able to find her way to a Smart Works centre.
What advice would you give to a woman needing your help, and how can she find her way to a Smart Works centre?
Smart Works is a referral service, so just approach the person supporting you in your search for a job and ask them to give us a call. It is as simple as a five-minute phone call and we can get you booked in.
If you’re not sure who can refer you then just give us a call directly on 0207 288 1770 and the team will find a way to help you.
Smart Works is a community, and we are here to support our clients at a crucial moment in their lives. However we can, we will find a way to be there for the women who need us.
How can we all support Smart Works?
Smart Works is nothing without its community. The most important way that people can support Smart Works is by spreading the word of our service. As we are needed now, more than ever, we want any woman who needs our help to know how they can access our service.
If you know someone who could use our help or someone who could help us reach more women, our website is the best place to get in contact with our team.
We also have several other ways that people can get involved, from volunteering with us in one of our centres as a dresser, coach or stock volunteer, to donating clothing that we could use for our clients.
You can also hold a fundraising event to help us raise vital funds or it can be as simple as following our social channels and engaging with our content so that we can continue increasing our reach across the UK.
Find out more about Smart Works here and help us support this great charity and the inspiring work they do.