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Location: Reading
Date: October 23, 2020

Smart Works Reading is the proud recipient of a £15,000 grant from Reckitt Benckiser (RB), a global leader in hygiene, health and nutrition.

The funding was awarded with the support of the Berkshire Community Foundation.  Smart Works Reading will use it to help women from the Slough area into employment.

Smart Works Reading supports disadvantaged women into work. We offer a simple but effective interview dressing and coaching service that gives our clients the confidence and skills to secure a new job.

RB, whose global headquarters are located in Slough, with over 1,000 employees, has previously donated clothing for Smart Works for an International Women’s Day event in March alongside the Berkshire Community Foundation.  The company is now exploring volunteering opportunities with us.

RB has also donated Dettol products to help Smart Works Reading keep its centre safe and secure when open to clients and visitors.

Remote delivery to support women into work

Smart Works Reading successfully pivoted its service to remote delivery during lockdown and we are still supporting through these uncertain times.

However, like other charities, we have lost income this year from cancelled fundraising events and will now incur additional, unforeseen costs including postage and packaging for client clothing, PPE and office deep-cleaning.

The RB grant will help us to support our clients and, by extension their families; to direct more salaries into disadvantaged Thames Valley households; and to help local companies to recruit the staff they need to thrive by bringing more women back into the talent pool.

The RB funding will be used for core services, including referral partner engagement in Slough, so that more women are made aware of Smart Works Reading and can benefit from our support.

Service needed now more than ever

Smart Works Reading Chair Sarah Burns MBE said:

“We are delighted that RB has awarded us this funding. We are a small, ‘lean’ charity that uses a dedicated team of volunteers to deliver free employment support to disadvantaged women. Our service is needed now more than ever and we anticipate increased demand as the economic impact of Covid-19 starts to bite. RB’s very generous grant will go towards helping our clients in Slough succeed at interview and transform their lives.

“A brighter future everyone deserves”

RB’s Social Impact & Partnerships Manager Sandra Hennessy said:

“We are proud to be able to support the local community where we live and work at such a difficult time. We are delighted to be able to continue to support Smart Works Reading which gives women the opportunity of a brighter future everyone deserves.”

CEO Gerry Lejeune OBE from Berkshire Community Foundation said:

“We are delighted to partner with RB with support to Smart Works Reading.

Smart Works provide vital support to very competent women who have experienced traumatic events in their life; to help to build their confidence and self-esteem and enable them to go on and build a brighter future.

The grant given by RB will go a very long way to help Smart Works Reading continue the outstanding work they do, particularly through the COVID crisis and beyond.”