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A future for Dress for Success

A COMMUNITY organisation that provides professional attire for low income women to help support their job-search and interviews has received a $10,000 CommBank Staff Community Grant after being nominated by CommBank employee Annette Roberts.

Dress for Success received the grant on the back of the COVID-19 pandemic where it had to shift its face-to-face services to online.

This included offering resume assistance and interview coaching for women and men, reaching out to several medium sized businesses to offer support for recently stood down staff, and supplying clothing packs for women fleeing domestic violence throughout the crisis.

“While we may have shut our physical front door, we have continued to be flexible and adaptable to the needs of women in our community,” Dress for Success Hobart general manager Amanda French said.

“We pivoted our operational model to offer online and virtual services and have started to support women in shelters and refuges with emergency clothing packs as we know that they would ordinarily have been reliant on op shops – a service that has been shut for a few months now.”

Ms French said the grant would help them recover from the effects of COVID-19.

“We service a diverse population of women, many of whom were already affected by under and unemployment, financial instability and domestic or cultural issues,” she said.

“We know that the effects of the COVID-19 crisis have greatly amplified the challenges of the women we serve – putting them, their families and entire communities at great risk.

“Our mission at Dress for Success Hobart is to help our clients achieve economic independence through gainful employment.

“We have a proven track record of being on the frontlines of helping women and their families through times of crisis and we hope that with this important funding from the Commonwealth Bank that we are able to continue these services.”

Ms Roberts said she became aware of Dress for Success after talking to Ms French at a local cricket club four-years-ago.

She immediately loved the work it was doing, and has supported it through regular volunteering at clothing drives, organising CommBank colleagues for volunteering days and helping to facilitate corporate attendance at fundraisers.

“I have been a supporter of this charity since its beginning in 2017 and when the Hobart operation started up late last year, I was eager to throw my support behind it,” Ms Roberts said.

“The work they do is so important, going well beyond providing clothing to support women to get back on their feet with interview support, paving the way to financial independence and wellbeing.”

More than 170 recipients across Australia received one of 205 grants awarded by the CommBank Staff Foundation.

These organisations were nominated by a CommBank Australia employee to receive a much-needed financial boost of $10,000.

“The work of Dress for Success is particularly vital in the current job climate where many women have been stood down and need support to get back into the workforce,” Ms Roberts said.

“When we come out the other side of this pandemic, Dress for Success will be needed by so many requiring support and confidence in their pursuit of employment and this grant will assist them to continue doing the great work they do.”

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About the Author: Hobart Observer

The Hobart Observer is your monthly community newspaper, reaching over 24,000 homes and businesses in and around the City of Hobart. It is the product of Nicolas Turner, Justine Brazil, Ben Hope, Simon Andrews, Tobias Hinds and guest contributors, with support from advertisers.

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