Since launching as a pilot in January 2016, The Suit Works has “suited and booted” more than 170 clients, of whom more than half were successful in their hunt for a job.
The charity is building a base of referral agencies and has nearly 30 to date, including job centres, training providers, other charities and Sheffield City Council.
Vanda Kewley, founder and manager, said: “Many of the people who come to The Suit Works have never seen themselves dressed up before and it can be quite emotional for them to see themselves in that way.
“Working with these people makes all the hard work worthwhile. Seeing the transformation in them after we have helped them, even if it is just in a small way, is very satisfying.
“I want The Suit Works to keep growing and become a key resource for Sheffield.”
Among those to benefit include refugees from war-torn Syria and the Democratic Republic of Congo and unemployed local men of all ages.
Ms Kewley is appealing for business people to donate suits, shirts, ties, shoes, smart casual clothing, accessories, smart winter coats and unused toiletries.
The charity is one of 11 to benefit from grants made by the William Cook Foundation, administered through South Yorkshire’s Community Foundation.
Other beneficiaries include Barnsley Churches Drop-in Project, a resource for the homeless, Ben’s Centre for Vulnerable People, a place of sanctuary for street drinkers, Doncaster Foster Carers’ Association, a support initiative for fostered children, Doncaster Housing for Young People, a housing support service, Emmaus Sheffield, the homelessness charity, the Open Kitchen Social Club, a training initiative for refugees and asylum seekers, Safe @ Last, a programme for vulnerable children at risk of running away, Shiloh Rotherham, a drop-in centre for adults in need, The Sunday Centre, a homeless food provider in Sheffield, and Tuff Cycle CIC, an employability and skills service.
James Newman, chairman of South Yorkshire’s Community Foundation, said: “Having the support of local businesses like William Cook enables us to deliver more grant funding to the people and community groups in South Yorkshire, who need it most.
“William Cook’s recent funding to the Suit Works and many other charitable groups shows how diverse the needs and issues are in our region.
“Over the last 12 months, SYCF has distributed more than £700,000 in grant awards to community organisations to enable them to tackle key social issues such as mental and physical health and well-being, reducing isolation and disadvantage and to improve youth employment and education levels.
"We are always ready to welcome more community-minded businesses and individuals to join us in our efforts and we are also very grateful to those who are already helping us to improve local lives and thank them for their continued support."
South Yorkshire’s Community Foundation provides a personal philanthropy service to individuals, families, businesses, charitable trusts and the public sector who wish to invest in and support local communities in South Yorkshire.
The charity, which celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2017, works with donors to match their passions and values with projects and initiatives that meet local needs.
It provides match-funding where possible and is always looking for new supporters to sustain and expand its work across the region.
William Cook, one of Sheffield’s strongest engineering companies, is encouraging more successful businesses in the region to support the work of South Yorkshire’s Community Foundation.
The company established the William Cook Foundation in 2015 with the aim of tackling homelessness and child deprivation in South Yorkshire.
Chairman Sir Andrew Cook said: “I have been fortunate in life being able to build up a successful company almost from scratch to support the employment and wellbeing of more than 600 people and their families in Yorkshire and the North East.
“We must never forget those less fortunate and I encourage other successful business people to support the important work of South Yorkshire’s Community Foundation.
“It is tragedy when people become trapped in poverty and homelessness and they need help and work to get out of their difficulties.”