Foundation’s funding suits fashion styling charity

A charity which provides free interview outfits to help struggling unemployed people into work is suited for success thanks to funding from South Yorkshire’s Community Foundation (SYCF).

Sheffield-based The Suit Works received £14,000 through SYCF’s Moving on Up project to support young adults aged 19 to 25 with free styling sessions and interview-appropriate clothing when they have the offer of a job interview and are unable to buy anything suitable.

From its headquarters at Carver House, Carver Street, The Suit Works also helps clients prepare for interviews by providing informal training covering topics such as body language, dealing with nerves and practical skills including how to iron a shirt.

Awarded over a three-year period, the SYCF funding has enabled The Suit Works to help a total of 121 young people – exceeding the original target of 115.

Moving On Up has awarded more than £140,000 to a total of nine projects over three years to tackle unemployment amongst young people across South Yorkshire.

Faye Mellors, CEO of The Suit Works, said: 

Due to a lack of financial support from elsewhere, individuals are facing many barriers to employment. With support from projects like Moving on Up, we’re able to assist by giving them the tools to succeed and reach their potential.

We’re incredibly grateful for the support from South Yorkshire’s Community Foundation in helping to achieve and exceed our aims.

We believe giving clients a styling session and beautiful, good quality clothing to attend their interview has a transformative effect. It can significantly impact on clients’ self-esteem and self-respect, ultimately contributing to employment success.


South Yorkshire’s Community Foundation is the region’s largest local grant giving charity. In 2023 it awarded grants totalling more than £1.7m to help transform the lives of people and communities across the region.

In the last year, SYCF approved £1,769,565 in grant funding – a 73 per cent increase compared to 2022 – benefitting 25,621 people.

Over the 12-month period, 410 grants were given to individuals, community groups and organisations in Sheffield, Barnsley, Rotherham and Doncaster. This is a 38 per cent increase on 2022, equivalent to 113 additional grants.

Ruth Willis, CEO of South Yorkshire’s Community Foundation, said: 

These incredible figures demonstrate the pivotal role SYCF plays in building stronger communities and enriching lives by awarding grants, which help tackle the critical issues affecting local people.

The grants have supported a huge variety of individuals, of all ages, with a particular focus on poverty and disadvantage, stronger communities and improving disability opportunities and access.

We are incredibly proud of our success and achievements. To have been able to award £745,000 more funding compared to the previous year is a testament to our team and all those incredible donors who support our work and enable us to do what we do best.


Meet Ruth

Ruth was appointed as Chief Executive in 2013 and is responsible for the day-to-day leadership, development and growth of the Foundation. She is an experienced leader and manager in both local government and the voluntary, community and enterprise sectors. Her working days are Monday to Friday.

Ruth E Willis

Chief Executive

Ruth E Willis's LinkedIn page
Ruth E Willis