It’s been another busy year for Fitted for Work, and as we come to the end of a decade, it’s a great time to reflect on achievements and how we will start the next decade in 2020.
This year for us was all about growth. We have experienced growth in the demand for our services, and as a result, we have expanded our service offering. This growth has had an enormous flow-on effect for the organisation on several levels.
Our team has grown, and we have welcomed some very talented people into the organisation. Their enthusiasm, energy and compassion have floored me. This has translated into our service delivery and has also led to the further development of our wonderful volunteers and their essential roles within the organisation. The feedback from our clients this year has been inspiring.
We have increased our technological capability, which has made a big difference, particularly to those women in rural and regional Australia. We have been able to personalise our virtual services despite not meeting with women face to face. With the help of technology, our services can reach women wherever they are located and provide them with tailored support.
Despite our winning formula and the results we achieve (77% of women sampled who go through our services get work, on average in 64 days*), we have struggled over the years to attract the funding we need. As a result, we have a strategy to source sustainable income. We have built robust Social Enterprise Models. SheWorks, our recruitment business is working with employers to place our talented clients into work, and The Conscious Closet is our curated slow fashion outlet. Our Supervention model where we partner with financial institutions such as the Commonwealth Bank has also proved to be very successful with over 3000 women referred to our services. These commercial models contributed 40% of our overall revenue in the last financial year. We are on our way to achieving economic sustainability.
All this growth has also meant that we have outgrown our space. We now deliver multiple services to women both from our physical sites but also virtually to women all over Australia. As a result, we have spent most of the year looking for our next home. We are now in the final negotiation stage for our new property and hope to move early in 2020. As soon as we have details, we will let you know.
We have been located at the Queen Victoria Women’s Centre for the past seven years, and it has served us well. It’s a beautiful heritage-listed building in the heart of the city. It’s housed our National services and head office as well as our social enterprises SheWorks and The Conscious Closet. Fitted for Work has particularly benefitted from the generosity of all the other tenants in the building that tackle so many of the challenging issues women face, from life-threatening diseases, physical safety and ensuring women have a political voice. We’ve made strong connections here that I know will continue once we have moved.
All this growth bodes well for the next chapter and decade in Fitted for Work’s story. We have an exciting 2020 planned with not only a move but our 15th anniversary. I look forward to sharing all of this with you, so please stay tuned!
Finally, I want to thank our fantastic Chair, Mary Crooks and our excellent Board for their vision and support in 2019. Thanks too for all your support, whether you are a volunteer, donor or supporter because we couldn’t do what we do without you.
*Sample size of 434 women, monitored over 10 months 2018-19 FY.