About Us

Smart Works Greater Manchester opened in June 2015.  Since then, we have supported over 1200 women, from every borough of Greater Manchester, helping them with the clothes and the confidence they need for job success.

“The lady that helped me dress was very supportive with a great eye for the detail.  Just having someone to listen and talk to about frustrations whilst looking for work helped immensely.  I left feeling more positive and confident about the future.”


In 2017, we had a very busy year increasing our appointment numbers on 2016 by 75%. We supported 421 women living in Greater Manchester and delivered 533 total appointments.  The women we support come to see us for an interview-appropriate outfit to wear to their job interview.  We give our clients a complete outfit of clothes and accessories (theirs to keep) and we provide one-to-one preparation training so they feel more confident and start believing in their own ability to succeed.

All of our Smart Works service delivery is provided by our team of over 45 highly skilled, fully trained volunteers and all our stock is donated through other working women or comes direct from our retail partners such as Hobbs, Whistles, Next, Evans and Bon Marche.

The two hours our clients spend with us can be transformative. We are incredibly proud to report that our success rate remains at over 65% of the clients we are able to contact going on to succeed at their job interview.

Smart Works Greater Manchester were delighted to win ‘Small Charity Big Impact’ and ‘Trustee of the Year – Louise Parrott Bates’ at the North West Charity Awards 2017.

Introducing the team behind Smart Works Greater Manchester

We are grateful to our trustees and staff for their hard work on behalf of Smart Works Greater Manchester.

  • Diane Leicester-Hallam is Chair of Smart Works Greater Manchester and works as the Chief Executive of Pharmacist Support.

    Diane joined the Smart Works Greater Manchester board of Trustees in January 2018, and took on the Chair role in March. After an earlier career in the retail sector Diane returned to education and graduated with a honors degree in law in 2000, after which she began working in the charity sector, initially as a Legal Services Commission funded representative in the [advice] areas of welfare benefits and debt.

    Following a move into management Diane enjoyed a number of roles within the Citizens Advice Bureau, including training manager, telephone advice line manager, bureau manager, and bureau services manager before moving on to an older people’s charity to manage a financial literacy service across the UK in 2006.

    In 2009, Diane joined the occupational benevolent charity, Pharmacist Support as chief executive where she successfully  transformed the service offer to be much more relevant within today’s healthcare sector. After nine years at the charity, Diane moved to the Pharmacist Defense Association (the sectors union) as Director of Member Services in 2018.

    In 2011 Diane became a trustee of the benevolent sectors leadership body, the Association of Charitable Organisations. In 2017 she retired as Vice Chair after serving the maximum two terms of office.

    Having experienced life as a single parent in Stockport in 1995 herself. Diane feels connected and motivated to support women from disadvantaged backgrounds to reach their potential.

  • Sue Weighell is Treasurer and a trustee at Smart Works Manchester, is a Chartered Accountant and freelance finance professional who works with organisations on their financial strategy and business development.  The work undertaken ranges from producing a business plan and budget to monitoring that plan with regular management information.  Work also includes selection and implementation of accounting software, improvements to processes and educating staff to produce accurate and timely management information.  Sue also uses information from the financial reports to recommend improvements to the business that impact on profitability and often works with clients on a regular basis in an FD type role. Sue works with a wide range of businesses and not-for-profit organisations.


    Clare Rafferty  is a trustee at Smart Works Manchester who brings over 20 years’ experience in the insurance and financial services sector, specialising in corporate healthcare, Clare now pursues a portfolio career engaging in a variety of consultancy projects. The primary focus of her work, following many years of experience of managing national commercial sales and marketing teams and working alongside a significant proportion of the FTSE 100, is to drive increased revenues for clients, by creating innovative products and engaging with customers and stakeholders in dynamic ways. As a single working mother, Clare understands the challenges many women face in trying to combine a career with family responsibilities and how to prioritise. Therefore is passionate about enabling women to access the workplace and achieving economic independence.

  • Sam Reed is a trustee at Smart Works Manchester and has worked as Senior Manager at PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP) for 4 years within their Financial Services Risk and Regulatory practice, culminating of over 10 years experience working with Financial Services. Sam combines her strategic leadership and risk management experience with a solid understanding of governance, culture, interpreting and operating under regulation. Sam is passionate about making a difference to society and in particular supporting women to achieve their goals and full potential.

  • Louise Griffiths is a trustee at Smart Works Manchester, having joined the organisation in January 2018. She has worked for British Gas for 3 years across Management and Performance Information, Risk and Quality. Louise joined the Centrica Group 3 years ago following a successful career leading performance and risk at a major housing and regeneration group in the North West.  With over a decade of experience within this arena working across public sector and corporate organisations Louise utilises extensive experience in the interpretation and analysis of complex performance and financial data to develop business insights that drive value and growth. Committed to customer service delivery Louise is keen to utilise her skills to make a difference to people’s lives.


    Sarah Martin is a trustee at Smart Works Manchester, Sarah’s background stems from Business development and relationship management predominantly in the Technology Sector.  Most recently she has taken the lead in Manchester’s newest Technology Innovation Centre Mi-IDEA.  Sarah now drives Innovation programmes across Europe for one of the worlds largest tecunology companies.  First involved in Smart Works as a volunteer providing interview coaching Sarah now joins us as a trustee to offer her core competencies in Business operations and Strategy.

  • Jane Nugent is a trustee Smart Works Greater Manchester, having initially joined as a volunteer interview coach in 2017.

    Jane is strategic and commercial marketing director with more than 20 years of expertise gained in market leading B2B and B2C businesses across a wide range of sectors. As well as working with household names and large privately-owned businesses, Jane has also led marketing, brand development and business innovation projects across the not-for-profit, health and social care sectors.

    As a trustee, she aims to use business skills and senior team experience to help ensure Smart Works can support even more women in the region.

  • Alison Lever is a chartered accountant and a member of The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales. Alison was a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers for over 20 years predominantly advising fast growing business and some not for profit organisations, with additional roles including recruitment and staff development for the local and northern team.

    Alison has recently joined Smart Works Manchester as a Trustee after first became involved through fundraising events supported by PricewaterhouseCoopers.


Rachel Bates (CEO & founder) and Katie Goodwin (Director of Operations & Communications) are the sister act behind the luxury homeware and lifestyle label ‘Rachel Bates’ and the highly acclaimed e-boutique www.rachelbatesinteriors.com showcasing Rachel’s own label collections alongside wonderful collaborations and curated edits of other brands. The business began as an interior design consultancy in 2012 and the own label product collection and e-commerce side of the business launched in December 2015. The ladies, have over twenty years of experience within industry, working for national, international & blue-chip firms. Rachel, in the journalism, financial PR, construction & design sectors and Katie, in the business & property arenas, providing them with all the necessary skills between them to run their dream business today. The ‘Rachel Bates’ label became a Positive Luxury ‘Brand to Trust’ in April 2017 and continues to grow and increase in popularity. Rachel & Katie became ambassadors for the Smart Works Charity in April 2017. They had been searching for a long time for a charity to support that resonated with them as females in business and helped other women, when they heard about Smart Works through a conversation at a women’s networking lunch, they were so inspired and immediately offered their support. As Cheshire Girls, born & bred they wanted to help support the North West and joined the team of the regional branch in Manchester to draw awareness to the invaluable service that Smart Works provides, both feeling strongly that regional arms of charities are often forgotten about in the shadow of London head offices.



Ceriann worked in communications and content for 15 years directing campaigns for some of the UK’s leading brands before setting up her own PR and communications consultancy last year.

Ceriann is also Founder of Winging It Club – an online, social and physical platform that brings inspirational women together to tell their tales of work and play, encouraging other women to give themselves permission to go for it in business and life whether they feel fully equipped to do something or not. https://wingingitclub.com/

“I am thrilled to become an ambassador of Smart Works. I continue to be inspired by their work with women in building their confidence, self-esteem and personal style. I genuinely believe there’s a ripple effect to confidence building particularly with women so the more women we can help, the more that help can be multiplied.” 



  • Anne Rabbitt and Karen Roberts – Acting Lead Managers for Smart Works Greater Manchester. Managing our Core Service, working closely with clients and referrals partners, outreach across Manchester, volunteers, stock, fundraising and maintaining key partnerships.


    Fiona Gunnion (currently on leave) – Lead Manager for Smart Works Greater Manchester, delivering the Smart Works mission across Manchester since February 2017. Managing our Core Service, working closely with clients and referrals partners, outreach across Manchester, volunteers, stock, fundraising and maintaining key partnerships.

    “It is an inspiration every day to see the Smart Works service in action, we have such passion in the office to improve the lives of women across Manchester in raising confidence and encouraging economic independence.”

  • Lucy Sandilands – Marketing and Communications lead at Smart Works Greater Manchester. Lucy is studying Graphic Design at Huddersfield University, on her placement year at Smart Works. Lucy is focusing on marketing, social media, partnerships and support within the office.