A small charity operating out of St Andrew-by-the-Wardrobe Church in Blackfriars is helping men in need prepare for job interviews by fitting them with high quality clothing.
Suited & Booted also provides general support, including advice on interviews from recruitment professionals. Other volunteers, including stylists, come from the world of theatre, film and entertainment. Each year the charity helps over 1,000 men, a majority of whom obtain employment soon after their visit.
Clients include ex-servicemen and people leaving care or custody, or recovering from mental illness. The charity works with 115 referral agencies, including Crisis, JobCentresPlus, the NHS, and the Probation Service. “The charity transforms lives,” says charity executive Dr Maria Lenn. “It offers a helping hand to clients faced with the prospect of a job interview.
We kit them out with a smart suit, shirt, tie, shoes and accessories.” Maria continues: “Recently Suited & Booted received this testimonial from a client: ‘My most sincere gratitude for the amazing welcome and service I received in July. You made me feel so immediately relaxed and wanted, the visit became a real and instant treat. Compassion and unconditional love suffused the day and David styled me with both sensitivity, humour and generosity.
The suit is incredible and I’ve felt utterly shielded in confidence wearing it. It’s been a long time since I brushed up this well and my subsequent interview was much the better because of it’.”
Last month Suited & Booted held a successful fundraising event called Transformations. The event was sponsored by City law firm Dentons, which loaned its premises and provided refreshments. Topping the bill was veteran actor Dame Siân Phillips, who gave a talk on clothes and read the humorous poem Twelve Days of Christmas (A Correspondence) by John Julius Norwich. Also appearing were dance company Swing Patrol, together with director Scott Cupit, who spoke about his own experience of interviews since arriving in the UK from Australia, including his successful appearance on TV’s Dragon’s Den. Baritone Alistair Sutherland provided musical entertainment.
However, the charity faces upheaval and is due to leave its current home in the new year because St Andrew’s is being refurbished. “Suited & Booted is looking for premises of 1,000sq ft or more,” says Maria. “We want to stay in the City to be accessible to clients, volunteers and the many City firms which help out in different ways. “We’re also looking for more volunteers. We need stylists and people to help as wardrobe assistants and support clients with interview advice.”
To volunteer at Suited & Booted, or pass on information about vacant premises, email [email protected]