Our Patron, The Duchess of Sussex

In January 2019 we were honoured to welcome the Duchess of Sussex to the Smart Works community as our newest Patron.

The Duchess’s decision to work with Smart Works incorporates her desire to support women, and her commitment to helping those in need across the UK. Both before and after taking on her role as Patron, the Duchess has made several private visits to our centres and shows both a clear affinity with our clients and a passion for our cause.

On one of her visits, while meeting with staff, clients and volunteers, The Duchess explained that:

“It’s not just donating your clothes and seeing where they land, it is about being part of each other’s success stories as women.”

In August 2019 Smart Works was featured in British Vogue, which was guest-edited by The Duchess. In the article she writes:

“The reason I was drawn to Smart Works is that it reframes the idea of charity as community. It’s a network of women supporting and empowering other women in their professional pursuits.”

This idea of reframing charity as community is something that is central to the Duchess’s work with us. Her launch of the Smart Set capsule collection has strengthened the sense of community in what we do, allowing women to support one another and offering not a ‘hand out’, but rather a ‘hand held’.

Kate Stephens, Smart Works CEO said:

“As a global campaigner for women and their rights worldwide, The Duchess will shine a light on Smart Works, enabling more women to come to our centres and get the job that will transform their lives.”

We are incredibly grateful to the Duchess for all that she does for the Smart Works community, and for her continued support.

Latest news

  • Read more on the Royal Family website.
  • Read more about The Duchess’s visit to Smart Works on the 10th Jan 2019 here.
  • Watch footage from the visit on the BBC website.
  • Read more about The Duchess’s visit to Smart Works on the 10th Jan 2019 here.
  • Smart Works are proud to be featured in the September Edition of British Vogue, guest-edited by our Royal Patron, HRH The Duchess of Sussex.
  • HRH The Duchess of Sussex and Smart Works launch the Smart Set capsule collection to prepare unemployed women for job success. Read more about The Smart Set here.
  • Read about the launch of the Smart Set at John Lewis & Partners here.
  • Two months after the launch of the Smart Set, we celebrated our 200th client dressed in the capsule collection.
  • In March 2020, The Duchess of Sussex kindly volunteered some time to speak with one of our clients ahead of her interview, offering words of advice and encouragement. Read more about the session here.
  • The Duchess of Sussex virtually joined four of our clients to celebrate the one year anniversary of the Smart Set Capsule Collection in September. Find out more here.


Photography credit: Philip Panting and Royal Communications