I found out about a new service opening in Newcastle called Smart Works, which provides interview clothing and job interview preparation to women, in addition to a follow-up service to provide more work clothes if the job interview is successful and the job secured.

I set up a meeting with the Smart Works Manager Michelle, and my colleague Angela Gullon and I went to an open afternoon to find out about the service offered, which could benefit our female clients.

The Smart Works service officially opened it doors to clients in Newcastle on, 24th April 2018. Helen Sinclair, Chair of the Board for Smart Works' Newcastle had, after a lot of persuasion and many emails, got Smart Works up and running in Newcastle. They already have offices in a number of other UK cities, including London.

One of my clients had recently secured an opportunity to run a pop-up café at the Hexham Book Festival, 2018, which is a prestigious annual event, attracting authors from all over the UK, including celebrity authors. I approached Smart Works to ask if they could provide suitable work clothing for my client. Smart Works can take a couple of clients per month who have already secured a job, but may need suitable work clothing until they receive their first pay cheque, so they agreed to help. I accompanied my client to Smart Works  on the 24th April, to be kitted out with clothes for her new enterprise opportunity. We were the first people to use & benefit from Smart Works Newcastle!

When my client came forward in one of the outfits, which the Manager, Michelle and a volunteer worker personally selected for her, she became quite emotional, shedding a tear and said to me she felt like this because "it was finally real". My client was thrilled with the clothes, shoes, bag and toiletries she was given. 

All in all, this was (and will be) very successful partnership and I am hopeful many more of our female clients will benefit from the Smart Works service!

If you feel like you need support finding a job because of your mental health, why not take a look at our employment support services to see how staff like Joy can help you?