About Us

Smart Works Newcastle has been supporting women back into employment since April 2018. Our clients come from a range of different backgrounds and age groups. In order to use the service, all we require is a confirmed job interview for a woman to attend an appointment.

I had an amazing experience at Smart Works. I know exactly what to do in the interview now and have lovely new clothes. My stylist went through lots of different clothes until we found my perfect outfit. The volunteers were so supportive and treated me like a professional.

Smart Works client

Our clients are given a complete outfit of clothes and accessories and we provide one-to-one interview coaching so they feel more confident, believing in their own ability to succeed. The two hours our clients spend with us can be transformative. We give women the confidence, the self-belief and the practical tools they require to succeed at interview and start a new chapter of their life.

We are proud to say we are a volunteer led organisation. We have a team of highly skilled, fully trained, professional volunteers. In addition all our stock is donated through professional women & organisations or comes direct from our retail partners including Hobbs, John Lewis, Marks and Spencer and Evans.

We are grateful to our trustees, staff and volunteers for their hard work on behalf of Smart Works Newcastle.

  • Jane Hartley

    Jane is a founding trustee and Chairperson of Smart Works Newcastle and has many years of experience working in the North East voluntary sector primarily with a focus on health & well being. Jane was the founder of the regional charity Pioneering Care Partnership.  Prior to becoming Chief Executive of VONNE she was a trustee and Chair at VONNE and worked as a consultant supporting VCSE organisations across the North East. She is a Trustee of the Greggs Foundation and Family Help, a domestic abuse charity in her home town of Darlington, County Durham.

  • Helen Sinclair

    Helen is a founding trustee and Vice Chair of Smart Works Newcastle. Helen works as the Employer Liaison Adviser at General Medical Council, having previously worked as an Adviser the National Clinical Assessment Centre and as a Professional Standards Inspector for the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain. Helen has also volunteered as a mentor for other women through The Aspire Foundation. Helen has lived in the North East for many years and is eager to support unemployed women in the region.

  • Alison Alden

    Alison joined Smart Works Newcastle in September 2018 as Treasurer.  She qualified as a chartered accountant with KPMG Newcastle in 1996 before leaving to join Sunderland Marine, a small worldwide mutual insurer, where she progressed to become Finance Director.  When Sunderland Marine was acquired in 2014, Alison became the group’s Chief Risk Officer.  Ultimately however, the lure back to finance became too strong and she joined a large multi academy trust in Northumberland in 2018 as Director of Finance and Central Services.  In addition to her role at Smart Works, Alison is also a non executive director for Health Shield Friendly society, based in Crewe.  This fits in neatly with her upbringing in Cheshire and her strong preference for the mutual model in financial services.

  • Katie Machin

    Katie is originally from the North East and she recently returned to the region having started her career, as a Family Law Solicitor, in London. Katie has experience volunteering with the Royal Voluntary Service in London. Katie learnt about Smart Works when working in London and is committed to bringing the service to her home region.

  • Amy Davies

    Amy is a founding trustee of Smart Works Newcastle who began her career in social housing and now works in policy and innovation at Your Homes Newcastle. Amy is passionate about vintage and second‑hand clothing and recently graduated from a Masters in Fashion Management at Northumbria University and set up a vintage clothing company. Until recently Amy also volunteered at her local Oxfam store, identifying vintage and designer clothing that had been donated and posting it for sale online. Amy read about Smart Works when it launched in London and thought it was such an amazing concept and was keen to get involved as soon as she heard there were plans to bring Smart Works to Newcastle.

  • Helena Clennell

    Helena is a Partner in PwC’s Management Consulting business based in Newcastle who works with a broad range of organisations in the UK and globally to help them improve efficiency and effectiveness, in particular focusing on HR, Finance, Procurement and Customer Contact functions.  Helena therefore brings significant experience of how organisations work and what they look for in an employee.  Throughout her career she has also spent significant time building teams and coaching team members as well as interviewing prospective employees.  Prior to working in consulting, Helena worked in the government sector and was involved in the implementation of a number of back to work programmes.

    She is originally from Sheffield but has lived in the North East since 2006 with her husband and step children.  Helena’s passions outside of work include travel, reading, cooking and clothes!

  • Carol Meredith

    Carol Meredith has worked for many years in the charity sector in a variety of executive and non-executive posts, and has been both ‘gamekeeper and poacher’ of charitable funds. Her previous roles include managing charities, a trustee of two regional arts organisations, a national committee member on the BIG Lottery’s Reaching Communities programme, and a grants assessor for many regional and national charitable funders.

    As a freelance consultant for almost 20 years she helps charities with business planning, evaluation, fundraising, and undertakes interim project management.  Her interest in women’s issues started many decades ago as the first woman in post on a black women’s training scheme in Liverpool and she believes passionately in women supporting women.

  • Caron Deans

    Caron is a senior HR practitioner with experience across a range of industries including financial services and manufacturing. Experienced in supporting organisations through change with particular strength in developing talent, leadership coaching, colleague engagement and wellbeing. She is passionate about people fulfilling their potential through work and life.

  • Anna Cook

    Anna is a trustee of Smart Works Newcastle bringing with her 20 years’ experience working in Publishing, Technology and Media sectors in the UK and internationally. Currently Director of Customer Service for Sky, Anna has held a number of senior roles in FTSE 100 companies covering marketing, CSR, HR, communications, change and operations. Passionate about gender diversity, Anna’s currently leading the charge to get more women into senior and technology positions at Sky and speaks regularly at schools to inspire young women to get into business.

  • Maria Humphreys

    Maria is a trustee at Smart Works Newcastle and has a real passion for the North East and women’s issues. She is also a trustee for another local women’s charity – Tyneside Women’s Health. Maria has a professional background in project management in IT, publishing, healthcare and regional development.

    ‘I’m so proud to represent Smart Works. North East women are known for their strong character but sometimes we need the help of other women to reach our full potential. It’s exciting to be a part of that moment where a woman’s confidence grows and she knows she can take on the world’.

  • Helen Boyd

    Helen is the Service Delivery Lead at Smart Works Newcastle, running our service for clients, managing volunteers and looking after relationships with referral partners, joining the Smart Works team in April 2019.

    Helen has a background in fashion retail and charities, and joins from a London Based Social Enterprise having moved home to her native North East.  Helen previously volunteered at Smart Works Newcastle.

    “I’m delighted to join Smart Works Newcastle, I loved being a volunteer and I’m excited to take the service into the second year and help even more women across the North East”

  • Nathalie Bouleau Chabot

    Nathalie is the Business Development Lead at Smart Works Newcastle, joining the team in May 2019.

    Nathalie has a background in fashion retail management, Human Resources and the charity sector.

    “I’m so excited to join Smart Works Newcastle as we move into our second year of operation. I can’t wait to meet our existing partners and build long-lasting relationships with new supporters of the charity. I’m honoured to be part of a community supporting women and hope to be able to extend our service and help as many women in the North East as possible back into work.”