Tony and I put on our roving reporters’ hats and went to the newly and beautifully renovated New Mesters office development on Mowbray Street to visit Vanda Kewley. She had received a cheque
from our church this week and was keen for us to go and see the set up for ourselves. She’s proud she’s had a 55% success rate with clients she has kitted out getting jobs and the photos she has of
smiling newly confident smartly turned out men would bring a lump to anyone’s throat.
She is indebted to Integreat Plus who let her share their office space. She has a unit for her ‘shop’ and it is taken up with hanging rails built by her partner – for ties, shirts, suits and smart casual
wear and a screened off area for trying on different outfits.
She has two volunteers working with her and they are soon to be joined by a third who works at a Sheffield Job Centre. This may be a useful contact to help spread the word about her business which only started at the end of January. Vanda also works with Remploy and Learn Direct to spread the word that lack of ‘respectable’ clothing need not put men off going for an interview when they can be kitted out for free at The Suit Works. Some students are doing a suit drive project and hope to persuade retailers to hand over end of line items. Vanda is also hoping to involve football and boxing clubs in raising awareness about the scheme.
The organisation depends on donated clothes from individuals and refugee groups who get clothes not suitable for their needs. The main need is for shoes – any size other than 9s! Vanda will use the money we donated to buy shoes – from charity shops and sales, and for the travel expenses she pays her volunteers. If you are browsing in a charity shop and see some decent large shoes and
feel moved to buy them I will gladly pass them on.