A big-hearted Larne businessman is helping cash-strapped jobseekers secure employment by offering free dry cleaning for interview wear.
Philip Clarke, who owns Comet Dry Cleaning and Laundrette in Larne, Co Antrim, hit upon the idea after a struggling customer confessed he was having to choose between having his suit jacket or trousers dry cleaned before an interview.
After dry cleaning the man’s outfit for free, philanthropic Philip decided to do the same for all local unemployed jobseekers who lack the funds to ensure they would make a good first impression on potential employers.
“The guy came in and he said he could only afford to get his jacket done, not his trousers,” Philip recalled.
“I got talking to him and he revealed he was going for a job interview after being made redundant two years ago.
“He said he had been trying and trying to find a job and I felt sorry for him and decided to clean the whole thing for free.
“He was over the moon and it was his reaction that spurred me on, as most people who are working don’t think twice about the cost of dry cleaning.
“Afterwards I thought that if people are making the effort to go out and find a job then we could do something to help them, so I decided to offer it to all local unemployed jobseekers.
“If people are struggling and are genuinely trying to find work then we should support them.”
To avail of the generous offer, unemployed jobseekers simply have to show their invitation to interview and proof of unemployment when they go to collect their dry cleaning from the launderette.
News of the deal has spread like wildfire on social media, with 11,000 people viewing the post and hundreds liking and sharing the company’s offer on Facebook.
“I think something like this is good for community spirit,” Philip continued. “People I don’t even know are stopping me in the street to say it’s a lovely thing we’re doing.
“It makes you feel good and in the long term if these people are successful in getting a job they may use us for their future dry cleaning.
“If other businesses want to do things like that I think it would be a nice wee gesture too.”
Philip hopes to continue the scheme “for the foreseeable future.”