TRANSFORMATION: Wyong Neighbourhood Centre's Tina Waters shows off the boutique's message and the angel wings she created.
TRANSFORMATION: Wyong Neighbourhood Centre's Tina Waters shows off the boutique's message and the angel wings she created.

Call for retirees with a fashion flair

IF You are retired with experience in women's fashion, Wyong Neighbourhood Centre wants to hear from you to help with its new Because We Care Boutique.

The boutique, officially launching on Tuesday March 5, will be run by stylist volunteers and assist disadvantaged women to re-enter the workforce by providing professional clothing and support prior to job interviews.

WNC community relations officer Sharyn Burgess said it was a first for the Central Coast, with cash-strapped women previously having to travel to Parramatta and Marrickville for a similar service.

"For many people, the first step to re-entering the workforce is having appropriate clothing and the confidence to go into an interview and to a workplace knowing they are well dressed,” Sharyn said.

The clothes will be top quality second-hand items, and new shoes and handbags have been donated.

"We are looking for volunteers with a real passion for fashion, a real knack for styling,” Sharyn said.

"We want our clients to feel really special when they come in.”

Clients will be referred to the boutique, which will be open two days a week by appointment for women of all ages, who come to them from a variety of circumstances, including poverty, domestic violence and divorce.

They may not have been in the workplace for some time due to family, be seeking a first job, as in the case of a 15-year-old recently helped out, or been retrenched.

Whatever the reason, they don't have the funds to purchase new clothing which will potentially allow them to start over.

"These girls and women have faced severe challenges in life and are looking for paid employment to improve their lives and their families' lives,” Sharyn said.

Each woman will receive a one-hour consultation at the boutique, and also have the opportunity of one-on-one mentorship on resumes, job applications and interviewing, as well as legal advice as needed.

The sign on the boutique wall perhaps best sums up the boutique's mission to help women coming from bad situations "be your own kind of beautiful”.

WNBC youth worker Tina Waters created the angel wings where women can chose to have their photos taken after their "transformation”.

"A lot of these women haven't had any nurturing for quite some time and our aim is to give them a new sense of hope so they can fly into their future,” she said.

North Gosford Rotary Club members have built shelving for the boutique and Business and Professional Women Central Coast and the Community and Business Women's Network have made donations.

The Because We Care Boutique is a specialty extension of the op shop, which is also run by volunteers Monday-Friday 9am-3pm and funds the centre's emergency relief program.

If you can help, contact Sharyn at sharyn@wnci.com.au or phone 02 43531750.