Monday, 5 March 2012

Give away a suit for homelessness

Before and after pictures of the case study candidates below
OK, time for a bit of a change - I'm going to write about suits again but this time it's not about buying one, it's about getting rid of one.

Tailor A Suit That Fits has announced it's teaming up with three charities, Amber, Broadway and Emmaus. These are homelessness charities and they've found that people picking themselves up after being made homeless is difficult partly because of confidence levels when they get into a job interview. They have nothing suitable to wear so they go in nervous and the interview doesn't go well.

So, quite simply, A Suit That Fits will hand over a £50 voucher for any old suit (in clean and wearable condition), men's or women's, that you donate to their offices or those of the charities between now and 26 April. They'll also welcome clean shirts and ties, as well as smart shoes. The scheme is called "A Suit for Success".

Of course this isn't a complete answer to homelessness but if it helps someone who's been affected by it and ended up getting as far as a hostel to get back into the job market it's an excellent start. Details of where to drop suits can be found here.

The tailor has offered some examples of people who've benefited from the charities' activities (I've just cut and paste this from the press release):

Paul is a trustee at Broadway – he is 57 and came to Broadway in 2008

In 2003, Paul was married with two children, and living in London, where he owned his own construction business with a childhood friend. When he caught his wife having an affair with his business partner, not only did his marriage breakdown, but it also signalled the end of his business. When he approached the council for help, he was informed that he was not a priority for housing, and he ended up sleeping on the streets. Due to the trauma of this, Paul started drinking heavily as a coping mechanism. After a long process of rehab, social services put Paul in touch with Broadway. Paul is now an incredibly active member of not just Broadway, but homelessness services throughout London. He is now living completely independently, and looking for a job. 

Jared, aged 20, came to Amber in August 2011

Jared spent 2 weeks living on the streets following a period of ‘sofa surfing’ - being homeless meant he was unable to get a job. Jared says “I recently attended an army selection weekend and interview; for the interview I used the money I had saved since being at Amber to purchase a suit as I wanted to make a good impression.”

Hollie, aged 19, was at Amber from April to December 2011

Hollie was forced out of home because of violence in the household and then was subjected to domestic violence by her boyfriend. Holly says, “Amber supported me through everything; they helped me increase my confidence. Now I have a managerial role at one of the biggest food companies in the world!"

It's a tremendous idea, and I urge anyone who has a suit they no longer use or which no longer fits to consider donating it in this way.

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