My wife and I moved to Sheffield a couple of years ago after several years living abroad. We have very few prior links to the area and were looking for ways to contribute to- and learn about- the local community.
At an event I met Vanda, the inspiring Chief Exec of The Suit Works, a local charity. I ended up joining the Board and then becoming Chair.
This recent article gives a flavour of the amazing work The Suit Works does. Essentially, people who are unemployed are given a styling session and formal clothing (free, theirs to keep) before going to interview. We launched a service for women for the first time last year. I've seen the magic of the work the charity does, the effect it has on people's confidence is immediate. Stats show that 33% of bosses know within the first 90 seconds of an interview whether they will hire someone. 65% of bosses indicate that clothes could be a deciding factor between two almost-identical candidates.
Before lockdown was imposed, The Suit Works had seen a 183% increase in referrals over the past year. We predict that our service will be needed more than ever as the region recovers from Covid19. Unprecedented numbers of people are losing their jobs. We have a supply of donated interview wear and the ability to coach and prepare people for interviews. Many will not have had to interview for a job in many years and will be feeling overwhelmed and vulnerable.
The Suit Works has just launched a major fundraiser to make sure that it can be there when most needed. We are a small charity, with just two members of staff and our own financial situation has been made more difficult by the current crisis.
I wanted to play my part in supporting this brilliant organisation. I'm now a massive fan of Sheffield, we bought a house here and this city and this region mean a lot to me (you can hear how much here, if you're interested).
So, I've set up this fundraiser in the run up to my birthday at the end of June.
I'm going to be walking a half marathon distance (just over 21km) in Sheffield (while socially distancing of course). Each time I reach another kilometre, I'm going to put on a different item of clothing. By the end I predict it will be quite a challenge to walk around and I'll look like an absolute fool. I look forward to sharing the photos of the day with you! Note my onesie and SpongeBob combo practice run in the video above...
Thanks so much for your support! I'm ready to go on my adventure, but first I need your help.