Dress for Success Dublin

Pictured: Susan Butler, (right) with Cathriona Edwards and Sonya Lennon, of Dress for Success Dublin. Picture courtesy of Dress for Success, Dublin.

Pictured: Susan Butler, (right) with Cathriona Edwards and Sonya Lennon, of Dress for Success Dublin.
Picture courtesy of Dress for Success, Dublin.

As we settle into the season of daffodils, Easter eggs and scrupulous cleaning and decluttering (also known as spring cleaning), I suspect there are currently households across the Dublin 4 area clearing out their closets and emptying their drawers in a bid to rid themselves of unwanted items of clothing and footwear.

The fate of each item is different. Some are given new leases of life by family and friends, some go on to charity shops and clothes banks, and then others are sadly thrown away. However, none could go on to a more worthwhile or worthy place than that of registered charity Dress For Success Dublin.

Dress for Success Dublin is a non-government funded organization that provides a completely unique service, unlike any other you’ve probably heard of in Ireland. Their mission is to ‘promote the economic independence of women by providing professional clothing, career development tools, and a support network’.

In a simple yet effective approach, they provide women who are already involved in various agencies, community schemes or labour activation programmes with the confidence, interview training and professional clothing needed to be successful at a job interview and to go on to secure employment.

Couple this with specialized workshops and continued career support and it’s not hard to see why Dress For Success Dublin have already supported 1,100 women since its foundation in Dublin in 2010.

One woman who has been at the forefront of the organization since 2010 is Ballsbridge resident, Susan Butler, who is Dress for Success Dublin’s operations manager. Butler is responsible for everything involved in the running of the organization and ensuring that all departments operate smoothly.

“No day is the same,” says Butler. “There’s an exciting mix of fundraising, women coming in and out for services, new partnerships coming on board, volunteer training and development – everything you imagine a small and busy charity needs to do.”

Butler’s unwavering passion for the organisation is admirable as she exudes knowledge and enthusiasm for the services Dress For Success Dublin provide. “I love the mix of practical and developmental supports,” explains Butler, “and I’ve always been drawn to initiatives that work, that create real and tangible results.”

Attesting to this, their recent figures show that 57% of the women they support go on to secure employment and 75% say they are where they want to be whether that is in employment, further training or education.

Each year, in celebration of International Women’s Day, Dress for Success Dublin runs a major fundraising and clothing collection campaign and this year is no exception.

In a recent press release they called on “workplaces of all sizes to join Dress for Success Dublin’s IWD campaign to celebrate the economic achievements of women,” and as Susan Butler points out, this also includes workplaces in the Dublin 4 area. “We need supporters to help at every stage to get women into the workplace, from fundraising to clothing donations, volunteering to running workshops – we need the support of partners in Dublin 4 because we need to offer support to more women.”

However, it’s not just workplaces that can help as the organisation is always looking for more skilled volunteers to give their time and expertise, and encourages anyone interested in volunteering to contact them directly.

Clothing donations can also be made to the Dress for Success offices, located on the corner of Middle Abbey Street and Lower Liffey Street, between the hours of 11am and 2pm and financial donations can be made on their website.

To learn more about Dress for Success Dublin and the amazing work they do, visit their website at www.dressforsuccess.org or find them on Facebook and Twitter and stay informed about upcoming events, fundraisers and ways that you can get involved.

By Paula Bowden.