Surgo staff have shown their generosity for a local charity smartworks.org.uk/newcastle-smart-works/, by donating hundreds of items of new or nearly new clothing, jewellery and make up for women across the region who need support to get back into work.

Over ten black bags full of clothing – suits, blouses, dresses and jackets – were collected by Carol Meredith, a trustee of the charity, which will then be sorted by a team of volunteers based at MEA House in Newcastle.

Smart Works Newcastle opened in April 2018 and since then, over 700 women from across the North East have accessed their service.

The charity aims to help women back into work by offering free interview clothing and coaching and has so far succeeded in assisting 66% of its clients to succeed at their job interview within one month of visiting the centre.

Bernie Adams, Surgo’s HR Manager, decided to back the initiative. “I read about the organisation on LinkedIn a few times and thought it was a great idea.  It gave me the incentive to give my wardrobe a good spring clean too and knowing what people can be like for buying things on impulse and not even wearing them, I thought it was worth mentioning it around the office too, as Surgo staff are always very generous.

“We ended up with over ten bags of clothing as well as make-up and jewellery.  It is going to a great cause and now we are looking at a similar initiative for men, so I hope we get the same level of support again.”

Helen Boyd, Smart Works manager, added:  “We were delighted to receive the donations from Surgo staff.  It makes an enormous difference to your confidence if you can go to a job interview feeling smart and if we can help women back into work, that’s a great return on everyone’s kindness.

“We are always looking for donations and volunteers, so please tell your friends about Smart Works and let’s see how many more women we can get back to work!”

The Smart Works service in Newcastle is open to any woman living in the North East who has a confirmed job interview for a paid position or a year-long apprenticeship.

The organisation works with many referral agencies including Job Centre Plus, work programme providers and charities working to support women back into employment.  Making a referral is done over the phone and only takes a few minutes.  Smart Works Newcastle does the rest.