Smart Works Greater Manchester charity has successfully helped hundreds of unemployed women despite the challenges of the pandemic, benefitting from joining the gunnercooke foundation support network during last year.
Smart Works help unemployed women to ‘get the clothes, get the confidence, get the job’, relieving the financial hardship of unemployment through the promotion of economic independence. The service provided include 1-2-1 dressing appointments where high quality clothes are provided for interviews, as well as coaching sessions for interviews, all free of charges for the client to keep.
The pandemic brought the charity the additional challenges of the majority of job centres being closed, as well as increased unemployment and the logistical issues of lockdown restrictions.
Along with corporate partners, grant providers and a large team of hugely skilled volunteers, the gunnercooke foundation team have assisted the charity by providing a support network during this challenging time, including business advice and planning, access to networking events and introductions, and helping to raise funds through the charity’s annual Cycle for Smart Works challenge.
Adapting to the problems faced, Smart Works launched an innovative online Career Coaching service, which offers CV advice, confidence building and skills development. This was delivered alongside the traditional Smart Works styling sessions and interview preparation skills coaching (delivered online during lockdown, tiers and travel bans) for those women fortunate enough to secure an interview.
Jan Iceton from Smart Works commented: “Despite the challenges we’ve faced during lockdown, the charity has had a fantastic year and we managed to set up 315 job appointments for women in need during the pandemic. The gunnercooke foundation’s inspire* project has been a great support to us during this time, providing valuable introductions and advice with VTO planning and tools to adapt to the current climate.”
Sarah Lynch, Interim Project Director of the gunnercooke foundation, added: “We’re proud to have some fantastic charity members in our inspire* project, such as Smart Works, who do important work for women in the North West. The last 12 months have been hard for all businesses including not for profits, so we welcome more organisations across the UK to get in touch and take advantage of our free membership and mentoring opportunities.”
The gunnercooke foundation connects businesses with charities and not for profits through several projects including inspire*. Work includes supporting CEO’s of charities to enhance their effectiveness, growing charity’s networks and services through peer support hubs, mentoring, workshops and 1-2-1 sessions to grow business techniques and strategies, as well as undertaking significant fundraising projects.
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