11,000 HELPED INTO WORK BY CHARITY
THE duchess became royal patron of Smart Works in January, but had been visiting the London-based charity privately for months.
Smart Works has helped at least 11,000 women get into work since it was set up in 2013. The charity ‘styles’ them in donated clothes and provides training on how best to cope in job interviews.
During a visit to the charity this year, the duchess admitted she had even donated her own clothes. She said: ‘It’s not just donating clothes but really being part of each other’s success stories.’
Announcing Meghan’s role, Kate Stephens, the charity’s chief executive, said: ‘As a global campaigner for women and their rights worldwide, the duchess will shine a light on Smart Works, enabling more women to come to our centres and get the job that will transform their lives.’
Mother-of three Patsy Wardally, 55, from south London, was out of work and struggling when she paid Smart Works a visit.
She gave up her job more than a decade ago to look after her autistic daughter.
With some guidance, she was quickly offered a job in customer service at Gatwick airport and was invited to meet the duchess in January to share her story.
She was treated to a styling session with Meghan herself. Megan said ‘You look amazing’ as the pair embraced. Mrs Wardally said: ‘When I first came through the door I didn’t even notice she was sitting there. She didn’t behave like royalty, she was so normal.
‘I just couldn’t believe that she was there to help me and to bring me stuff to try on.’
Other patrons include Jennifer Saunders and broadcaster Emma Barnett. Samantha Cameron is an ambassador.