Northern Power Women Prepare To ‘Dress It Forward’ by Steph Wright

Local business leaders across the north are joining forces this week and donating their unwanted work clothes for the Dress It Forward initiative.

The scheme, which aims to provide female ex-offenders with appropriate work wear, is to be launched by Cllr Erica Kemp at the Northern Power Women Conference on 12th March.

After working closely with the ISIS Centre Merseyside and Tomorrow’s Women Wirral Stephanie Wright, Director of Sefton & Liverpool Women in Business, decided that more needed to be done to get female ex-offenders back into employment.

Speaking of the scheme, Stephanie Wright said:

‘It is tough for ex-offenders to get their lives back on track and it is simple things that we take for granted, such as owning appropriate work wear, that makes the struggle even harder. It is often the case that women leave prison with their possessions in a carrier bag and no support to help them build a positive future’.

‘By setting up the Dress It Forward scheme we are hoping to encourage local women to donate their unwanted clothes, which ex-offenders can then keep and wear to interviews and business meetings. This will give these women a real confidence boost and help them realise their own aspirations by knowing that other people care about them’.

Cllr Erica Kemp, Lord Mayor, said:

‘I am thrilled to be launching the Dress It Forward campaign as it is an initiative that should boost employment rates and change the stigma that is often attached to employing ex-offenders. Liverpool is a charitable city, and one person donating one unused outfit can make a real difference to the community’.

Outfits can be donated by members of the public to the Dress It Forward initiative from Thursday 12th March at various drop-off points including The Town Hall, The Women’s Organisation and Natwest banks.

Simone Roche, Founder of NorthernPowerWomen, said:

‘When Steph told me about her initiative, I didn’t have any hesitation in offering Northern Power Women as a platform to engage with business women and leaders to support other women to get into work.’

This is a great example of women working collaboratively to make a positive impact.

To find out more about Sefton & Liverpool Women in Business visit: http://www.slwib.co.uk/, or for press enquiries contact Melissa Moore (see below).

Dress It Forward

• The Director of Sefton & Liverpool Women in Business, Stephanie Wright, set up the Dress It Forward initiative in 2015 to help female ex-offenders in the Merseyside region get back into employment.

• The scheme asks local women to donate their unwanted work clothes, including shoes and bags, which will then be given to women who have left prison to enable them to feel smart when attending interviews and boosting self-worth.

Sefton & Liverpool Women in Business CIC

• Sefton & Liverpool Women in Business is a Community Interest Company established by Stephanie Wright in 2013.

• SLWIB offer free business start up support to women across Merseyside.

• After noting the difficulty for women and girls to establish their career, SLWIB began providing workshops that give advice on enterprise, employability, and self-confidence.

Northern Power Women Conference 2015

• Inspired by the call for a northern powerhouse, the conference is designed to recognize the north of England as a force for good in achieving gender balance and unleashing the economic power of women in the north

• The Northern Power Women Conference 2015 is to be held on Thursday March 12 at the Hilton Hotel, Thomas Steers Way, Liverpool and will be hosted by Harriet Minter, editor, Women in Leadership, Guardian.

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