Wellbeing & Inclusion

Marks & Spencer helping women Dress for Success!

In 2017, M&S launched a major community transformation programme as part of Plan A 2025 – its new plan to support 1,000 communities, help 10 million people live happier, healthier lives, and convert M&S into a zero-waste business.

The business issue

Helping women into employment through Dress For Success™ Foyle.

What Marks & Spencer Plc (M&S) did

In 2017, M&S launched a major community transformation programme as part of Plan A 2025 – its new plan to support 1,000 communities, help 10 million people live happier, healthier lives, and convert M&S into a zero-waste business.

The programme is initially being piloted in ten communities, including Derry~Londonderry, over the next two years, when M&S will trial a range of actions designed to tackle the issues that matter most to communities – such as unemployment, skill shortages, loneliness, poverty, and mental health and wellbeing.

“The pioneering Plan A programme will see M&S work with Derry & Strabane District Council, Business in the Community, and other charity partners to support communities in Derry~Londonderry to deliver positive, measurable change.” Kieran McCauley, M&S Project Co-ordinator

One of the groups benefitting from Plan A locally is Dress For Success™ Foyle.  Established by Foyle Women’s Aid, the project has been supported by M&S through professional advice on the layout, design and furnishing of the boutique, stylist training given by M&S to staff and volunteers, and the generous donation of professional attire.

Impacts

Dress For Success™ Foyle is a local affiliate of the international not-for-profit organisation Dress for Success. Since suiting the first client in 1997, Dress For Success™ has served more than one million women internationally by providing them with business-appropriate clothing, mentoring and professional development programmes.

Officially launched on Thursday 18th January 2018, at Ashleywood House, Ardmore Road, speakers on the day included Marie Brown, Director of Foyle Women’s Aid; Kieran McCauley, M&S Store Manager; and, Louise Kirkpatrick, M&S Field Visual Merchandiser.

“Our mission is to empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and development tools to help women thrive in work and life,” Marie Brown Foyle Women’s Aid explained.

“Dress For Success™ is about much more than the clothes. When women are out of work for a while, they need help to restore the self-belief they need to go into an interview and succeed.”

Reporting/Publicity/Photos

https://www.facebook.com/foyle.dressforsuccess/

https://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/business/dress-for-success-opens-first-northern-ireland-branch-1-8345629