Dress for Success expands reach with opening of Belfast branch

Dress for Success has expanded its reach with the launch of a branch in Belfast. Pictured (from left) are Sarah Quinn, programme manager, Dress for Success NI; Marie Brown, chief executive of Foyle Women’s Aid; Donal Traynor, Community Finance Ireland chief executive; and Susan Walker, business engagement manager at Allstate NI

DRESS for Success, the non-profit employment resource for women, has expanded its reach in Northern Ireland with the opening of a second branch, situated at the Glengall Exchange in the city centre, under a new tenancy from Community Finance Ireland.

Dress for Success Northern Ireland is managed by Foyle Women’s Aid and has so far supported more than 200 women through its first branch which opened in 2018 in Ashleywood House in Derry.

The new boutique in Belfast will act as a place for women of all ages and backgrounds to avail of a myriad of services, including styling for interview and programmes designed for every step of their professional journey.

The branch fit-out has been supported by Castlecourt shopping centre, which donated rails, mannequins and shelving units to help style the boutique and make the client experience as positive as possible.

Marks & Spencer has been a key partner from the outset by supporting the fit out of the Foyle branch and donating quality, suitable clothing.

This is the only affiliate of the global Dress for Success brand operating in the island of Ireland, there are more than 140 affiliates operating in 20 countries across the globe and marks an important achievement in the organisation’s growth and reach in Northern Ireland.

Dress for Success empowers women into the workplace from positions of disadvantage by providing professional clothing and styling, skills and confidence, interview coaching and ongoing support once they re-join the workplace.

Marie Brown, chief executive of Foyle Women’s Aid, said: “We are delighted to open the second branch of Dress for Success in Belfast and to host a special launch event to celebrate the achievements of the women who have gone through this programme to date, to bring together our corporate partners and to mark our continued growth whilst sharing our future vision for the initiative.

“We believe this opening presents a unique opportunity in Northern Ireland for us to help and support even more women through working with the global brand of Dress for Success. We also extend our thanks to our corporate partners and other key supporters, their ongoing support and sponsorship is essential to delivering these necessary services.”

Donal Traynor, Community Finance Ireland group CEO, added: “As an equal opportunities company, as well as a registered social enterprise and charity ourselves, our team is delighted to support Dress for Success and aid their ambitions to help women going back to work.

“We speak finance but hear people and our recent move to Glengall Exchange has offered our own team and clients a very welcoming and central city location. We feel privileged to be able to host the Dress for Success Northern Ireland team, as well as its future service users at our premises, and wish them every success in this new chapter of their history.”

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