Back to News
Location: Birmingham
Date: August 26, 2021
Celebrating 5 years of Smart Works Birmingham image

As we celebrate five incredible years here at Smart Works Birmingham, we asked our Chairwoman Philippa to share her top five highlights from her time with us. Philippa joined us in summer 2018 and we’ve seen huge change since then.

“I was drawn to the charity after seeing an article about how the seemingly small intervention of supplying women in need with interview clothing and coaching for their job interviews had helped many women into a job, bringing financial independence for them and their families.

We’ve seen the numbers of women we help dramatically increase year on year with a 147% increase in 2019/20, supporting over 600 women that year. Over the past year and a half we’ve seen reduced numbers as our centre had to close due to the pandemic, but conversion to online support for our clients meant we still helped the most women of any regional Smart Works centre outside of London.

As we are totally reliant on our own fundraising abilities, I was delighted with how the commercial business sector embraced the charity after our targeted approaches. We held very memorable sell-out lunches at Opus Restaurant, raising over £12,000, helped by high profile speakers of Jane Shepherdson and Isabel Spearman who are both patrons of our umbrella charity in London.

I truly believe that the ladies that we have helped can tell others, far better than we can, how our services have helped transform their lives. I particularly liked the coverage we got from two clients being willing to speak to a BBC online reporter and the resultant coverage we received and another two clients who agreed to be filmed for our amazing current case study video, thanks to Shuut. (

Finally, last but not least, our amazing staff and volunteers have made a real impact on me. Their continued dedication and hard work and joy in seeing ladies they have helped get their job and turn around their lives never fails to impress. Thanks Joanne and Ann for your dedication and hard work and a huge thank you to our many volunteers past and present, and our volunteer Board of Trustees for their support and hard work to keep our charity thriving.”

Thank you to Ruth from Shuut for the image of Grace, one of our clients which is used here.