For our clients, securing a job and gaining financial independence changes the trajectory of their lives and, in turn, the lives of their families and communities.

The need for our service is clear

For the individual, unemployment is one of the biggest causes of poverty and associated with physical and mental health challenges, high mortality rates and academic underperformance.

For the state, one unemployed person costs £6,897pa in benefits and lost tax revenue (Joseph Rowntree Foundation). Following the pandemic, unemployment is predicted to peak in 2021, with 4 million out of work.

The women we support are at greatest risk of economic hardship and discrimination. In the last year, 43% of clients had been unemployed for over a year, 25% had been rejected from over 50 jobs and 14% had been rejected from over 100 jobs. In addition, 40% were single mothers, 13% have a disability and 52% were from an ethnic minority.

The impact of our service

The Smart Works service is transformational. After their appointment, 95% feel more confident about succeeding in their next interview, 97% feel more confident in their new outfit and 93% are more aware of their strengths and skills. We are proud that 62% get a job.

We have two clear measures of success: the number of women helped and the proportion that secure employment within a month of their visit. Since 2013, we have helped 20,000 women from eight centres and our success rate has never dropped below 55%.

Smart Works has a strong track record of success

20,000 women supported

62% get the job

95% are more confident

What our clients gain from their appointment

Financial security

Financial security

“Thank you so much for all your help, with my clothing and my confidence. It’s really good being financially independent again and I have been able to put an offer on a rental flat for my children and me.”

– Susannah

Empowerment

Empowerment

“You helped me find my voice and instilled in me the ability to be confident in all that I do. I’m allowed to be me because of [Smart Works] and I will never forget that.”

– Kate

Self-belief

Self-belief

“It is interesting how much the way we visibly present ourselves can make such a difference. I was able to reconnect with my old self, catching a glimpse of the person I used to be. Thank you for all [the team] do to make the lives of women so much more meaningful. I am living proof that  your actions really do matter.”

– Deborah

Economic independence

Economic independence

“The career coaching and interview prep were invaluable and the make-up session was an added bonus. Although I am incredibly nervous about starting (next week!), it is such a relief to have an income again and that is in no small way down to Smart Works.”

– Becky

Hope for the future

Hope for the future

“I remember very clearly how bleak life felt when I visited you 3 years ago, feeling hopeless, like no-one would give me a job because of my depression. The hours I spent with the women there – I will never forget them and have held Smart Works in my heart ever since.”

– Anonymous

Happiness

Happiness

“I never buy myself anything as my children come first and what’s left which isn’t much goes on shopping or essentials. I was so blown away by the outfit, shoes, bag, makeup and coat – it felt like Christmas had come early. I am so grateful for the help your charity gives to people who are desperate to get back into work. The difference you make is incredible.”

– Diane

Trusted and externally validated

The Smart Works service is underpinned by an acclaimed Theory of Change and an external impact evaluation that validated our work at Level 2 in standards of evidence (as set out by Nesta, the Government’s innovation charity). This means we can capture data that shows positive change.

In 2018, Smart Works completed a process evaluation. The research concluded that the Smart Works service brought about a profound change in clients and highlighted the strength and quality of our volunteers.

We were proud to be recognised as Social Action Charity of the year in the 2017 Charity Awards

Learn more about our impact

Read Caroline’s Story

Read Bibi’s story