One of the four new patronages announced by the Duchess of Sussex at the start of 2019 is Smart Works, an organisation which supports women into work.
It was set up in 2013 with the aim of providing long term unemployed women with the tools they need to get the job they want. That includes interview training and support so that they have the confidence they require when they go for a job. The organisation also provides them with an interview outfit, again to bolster self esteem and self belief.
It has bases in London, Edinburgh, Manchester, Birmingham, Newcastle and Reading. People are referred to it through a number of routes including job centres, mental health charities and care homes. Women supported by the charity have often been rejected for dozens of jobs in the past. Of those helped by Smart Works, 60% succeeding in getting work. In 2017, it became a Charity Award winner, recognised in the category for social care, advice and support.
As the announcement of Meghan’s new patronage was made, it was revealed that the Duchess of Sussex had visited the organisation several times over the last year, working with many of the women approaching the organisation for support and seeing them go on to succeed.
The organisation’s chair and founder Juliet Hughes-Hallett said ‘’an acknowledged champion of women and their rights worldwide, the Duchess will motivate even more women to come to our centres and get the job that will transform their lives’’. She added that the patronage will ‘’inspire the women we serve and help them reach for the stars’’.
Smart Works has a number of other high profile patrons including actress and comedian Jennifer Saunders and fashion designer, Betty Jackson. Samantha Cameron works with the charity as an ambassador. Its website can be found at www.smartworks.org.uk.
The Duchess of Sussex announced three other patronages on January 10th – the National Theatre, the Association of Commonwealth Universities and Mayhew, an animal welfare charity.