Happy New Year to all our customers and supporters! We hope to be very busy this year developing our service and helping more unemployed people of Bolton back into work.
To start the year nicely we are working with a local training provider who has guaranteed job interviews for learners on a course starting on the 21st January. Successful candidates will attain: Certificate in for skills for working in Health Adult and childcare sectors Level 1 and Certificate in Employability Skills Level 1.
Interviews will take place Friday 1st February with a view to immediate starts and further development up to Diploma level 3
Assistance with DBS costs will be offered by provider.
Other interviews will be made with a subsequent employer, if unsuccessful with this initial company.
Contact us for more information.
Since opening on the 18 June we have helped 35 customers and 18 of those got a job offer! Here are some of those we have seen.
Here's a reminder of what we offer:
The support we have received from the local and business community has been unprecedented. Whether it be organising a clothing drive to mentoring in the shop – thank you we couldn’t do it without your help!!!
So pleased to announce the official opening date of 18 June 2018!!!
We will be hosting a full week of open days week commencing 11 June each day catering for different stakeholders.
We will be contacting all parties over the next few weeks, that isn’t to say each day is invitation only. We want as many organisations and companies as possible to attend to get a feel of what we are hoping to achieve here and how we can all work together for the benefit of the unemployed of Greater Manchester.
We welcome any organisation that works with the unemployed to talk to us about being a referrer.
If you are an organisation that would like to offer your staff expertise in interview skills, mentorship and coaching then please come along to the Wednesday event. Or maybe you are an individual with skills to offer then please do come along too.
Timetable of events:
Monday 11 June 1-4 Referrer open day
Tuesday 12 June 1-4 Referrer open day
Wednesday 13 June 10-4 Mentor and volunteer day
Friday 14 June 1-4 Opening Party- Invite only
Please share with your network and we look forward to meeting you at some point over the week.
I realise that I have neglected the web site these last couple of months but things have been moving so fast since I last posted on here. We got the keys for the building!! It took a while but patience paid off this time!
Anyway so I’ve been very busy meeting with local contractors and tradesmen who have been giving their time and expertise for free. The support this project has received has been truly remarkable and I am forever grateful and I will be announcing the opening date very soon.
In the mean time I have launched a crowdfund to help with opening and ongoing costs. Please take a look, consider a small donation and share it far and wide.
So much goodwill, so much generosity: it’s time for an update.
The deal on the lease of our Bolton town centre store is still not complete but that hasn’t curbed the enthusiasm from our ever-increasing band of supporters.
We’ve got Johnsons the Cleaners – part of The Timpson Group – on board and they’re dry cleaning all our clothing donations. Each store throughout Greater Manchester will also be a drop point for clothing donations from the public.
This is such a great offer and we’re extremely grateful to Johnsons and look forward to our relationship growing from strength to strength. Lesley and her team in the Burnden road Bolton branch have already been working hard for us as donations have come in thick and fast.
Thank you so much to Garry Taylor at The Print Room, Manchester Road Bolton for sponsoring the printing of the drop point bags for the Johnsons stores- www.the-print-room.co.uk
Thanks also to construction firm Seddons www.seddons.co.uk for organising our first external clothing drive and to all our Bolton at Home staff who’ve been clearing out their wardrobes for us too. The quality of clothing received so far has been excellent and I’ve been overwhelmed with how generous people have been. Please keep it coming.
Interestingly we seem to be receiving more men’s than women’s clothing. When I’ve asked for feedback it seems the logo and branding appear quite masculine and infers we are just a men’s service. That’s useful to know. I’ll be making some tweaks here and there.
Thank you to Chris Baldwin from Asda who’s been promoting us and hosted a promotional event in the Astley Bridge store. Myself and a team of volunteers spent a Saturday at the store talking to the public about Working Wardrobe and taking clothing donations. It was a massive success and definitely something we will do again. Thanks Chris.
Thank you also to Bolton FM www.boltonfm.com and Keith Harris for all the promoting they have done for us so far on the airwaves. Your presenter Andy Woodend was so good and worked his socks off for us on the Asda promotion day.
In my previous working life I was very used to the hard sell. This project doesn’t need the sell. I’m getting lots of phone calls from potential referrers all delighted with the prospect of offering the final piece in getting people interview ready.
And organisations are offering their support in many different ways. Every day I’m out and about talking to stakeholders and I love hearing their feedback and suggestions – please keep them coming! There’s a real buzz about Working Wardrobe. It’s heart-warming and I’m so happy to be leading on it.
Finally, let me tell you about a training course for employed customers I facilitated a few weeks ago. By the end of the short course every one of the ten attendees was offered an interview with a local employer.
However, three of the group told me they’d been out of work for so long they’d nothing to wear for the interview, and no money to buy anything.
We sorted them out with what they needed but it reinforced just how important Working Wardrobe will be to be the unemployed men and women of Bolton. The sooner we’re up and running the better!
“I’ll wear my best tracksuit to the interview,” I heard one of our customers saying.
We come across this a lot at Bolton at Home. It’s not that our customers aren’t job-ready, it’s just that they’re not interview-ready.
For this customer getting some decent clothes for his interview and creating that vital first impression was a real barrier to him getting off benefits and back into employment.
So we’ve hatched a plan. I’ve joined our Employment and Enterprise Team specifically to set up the Working Wardrobe in the town centre where interviewees can get kitted out for free.
It’s taken some planning but we’re now about to sign the lease on our new shop unit and it’s all getting vey exciting.
It’ll work like this. The Working Wardrobe shop will stock ‘gently worn’ suits, appropriate interview attire, shoes and accessories all donated by local businesses.
After being referred our clients will make a one-to-one appointment at our shop where they’ll be given a full interview outfit plus shoes and whatever accessories they need. Crucially they’ll also be given advice and support on what to expect at the interview.
Once they’re successful they’ll come back to me for any additional clothing they need plus they’ll get access to our in work support officer. That way we can make the often difficult transition from benefits into employment as smooth as possible.
This is all part of Bolton at Homes’ commitment to supporting local people into work. As a social landlord with 18,000 properties we see our job as much more than putting a roof over people’s heads.
Through our network of UCAN centres – neighbourhood advice centres – we are already supporting hundreds of local people with job searching, confidence-boosting and CV writing. The Working Wardrobe will take them to the next step. We’ll help them get the look, so they get the job.
For me, this is all very different from what I’m used to. I’ve set up businesses from scratch before but this is completely different. This is not about maintaining a healthy balance sheet or scrutinising the profit margin. No money will change hands. The only transaction will be... well, it’s all about making a difference to people’s lives and its going to be called “Working Wardrobe”.
In the next few weeks I’ll be writing more about our preparations before we launch and I’ll let you know how you can best support us.
And yes, we did help that customer get a suit for his interview and yes, he did get the job. So we know it works!k here to edit.