Clothing initiative giving Derry women a helping hand
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Sarah Quinn is Project Manager in Derry and, along with a group of dedicated volunteers, she ensures that women using the service not only leave with an outfit, but they leave with a boost in their confidence, too.
Sarah said: “Dress for Success started here in the north west in 2018. Marie Brown, the Chief Executive of Foyle Women’s Aid, was at a family justice centre in Colorado where she saw a Dress for Success affiliate. She then went about bringing it here. It’s a global, non-profit movement that supports and empowers women to become more financially independent. We do that through providing women with suitable clothes for work, interviews or occasionally for attending court.
"We provide clothing but we also provide core employability support too, such as interview skills and we have experts in HR who can help with CVs. Ideally, we want to be offering that as a whole package to offer the woman the best possible chance to be the best version of herself.
“Women can be referred to us through other support agencies, such as the Job Assist Centre here in Derry, for example. They deliver a ten week care certificate programme for women who aren’t in employment. At the end of that ten weeks, they are guaranteed an interview with a local care-based organisation. We book out the boutique and they come in and get styled for interview. Women say they imagine that this is what a personal shopping experience to be like, they absolutely love the experience.
"The majority of the clothes are new. We have a good relationship with Marks & Spencer some of their end of line stock would come to us. Anything that’s not suitable for work, we either pass on to charity or we keep a supply of more casual clothes for women who would maybe come to us in a crisis.”