Dress for Success expands its reach in Northern Ireland with opening of Belfast branch

The business provides a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help Northern Ireland women thrive in work

By Claire Cartmill
Monday, 14th March 2022, 1:30 pm
Updated Monday, 14th March 2022, 2:34 pm

Leading global non-profit employment resource for women, ‘Dress for Success’, has expanded its reach in Northern Ireland with the opening of a second branch.

Under a new tenancy from Community Finance Ireland, the new boutique store at the Glengall Exchange in Belfast City Centre will act as a place for women of all ages and backgrounds to avail of a myriad of services.

The business provides a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life including styling for interview and offer programmes designed for every step of their professional journey.

Sarah Quinn, programme manager, Dress for Success Northern Ireland, Marie Brown, CEO of Foyle Women’s Aid, Donal Traynor CEO Community Finance Ireland and Susan Walker, business engagement manager, Allstate NI

Dress for Success Northern Ireland is managed by Foyle Women’s Aid and to date has supported over 200 local women through its first branch which opened in 2018 in Ashleywood House, Londonderry.

The Belfast branch fit out has been supported by Castlecourt Shopping Centre, who donated rails, mannequins and shelving units to help style the boutique and make the client experience as positive as possible.

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

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

Stacey Murray and Bernadette McGuigan, participants of the Dress for Success programme

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.

Highlighting ‘a unique opportunity in Northern Ireland for us to help and support even more women’ Marie Brown, chief executive officer of Foyle Women’s Aid, explained: “We are delighted to open the second branch of Dress for Success in Belfast.

“We also hosted a special launch event in the Grand Central Hotel 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.

“It is their support that make it possible for us to continue to help the women we serve.”

Supporting the expansion and ethos of the company, John Healy, vice president and managing director from Allstate NI continued: “I am delighted that Dress for Success has expanded and opened a second outlet in Belfast.

“It is a fantastic initiative that will help women re-join the workplace and one that Allstate fully support.”

Wishing them every success, Donal Traynor, group chief executive office Community Finance Ireland said they were delighted to help women in Northern Ireland going back to work.

She 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 in Northern Ireland 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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