Stark warning with items needed ‘to stop hygiene poverty’
- Credit: Archant
A charity is calling on the community to donate deodorants, conditioner, washing powder and particularly toilet rolls following an influx of people struggling with hygiene poverty.
The Hygiene Bank Waveney, which launched in Beccles earlier this year, has since expanded and now has storage facilities enabling them to collect and distribute their items in the Lowestoft area too.
Project co-ordinators Claire Gulliver and Natalie Clement set up a local branch of the charity after identifying a need in Waveney.
The Hygiene Bank, which gained charitable status last year, initially launched in Beccles and has now rolled out across the district as it aims to collect essential sanitary as well as hygiene products and distribute them.
Natalie said: "I was at home one day when I found a load of hygiene products like shampoo, shower gel and stuff that I hadn't used and just bought too much of.
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"I looked online to see if I could find someone to donate them to and I found the hygiene bank, which was a fairly new charity, set up in London by Lizzy Hall, but there was nowhere close by to drop it off.
"So I went into work at Tesco - where I am community champion - and my friend Claire Gulliver came in to the store that day and asked if Tesco would be willing to have a drop of point for products.
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"It was meant to be, so we decided to team up together to set up a hygiene bank in Waveney.
After the first drop off point was established at Tesco in Beccles, the Hygiene Bank has "grown from there in the last six months," the project co-ordinators said.
Natalie added: "We managed to also get drop off points in Beccles at Rosie's Beauticians, Oddsocks Children's Clothes, Beccles Library and it has expanded from there to include Lowestoft with drop off points at Morrisons in Beccles and Pakefield and The Kirkley Centre.
"The outlets we support at the moment are St Luke's Foodbank Beccles, The Volunteer centre and St Mary's Foodbank in Halesworth, Allsorts Support, Baby Basics Lowestoft, Gunton Baptist Church Foodbank, Outreach on the Street, Beccles Primary Academy, Sharel, Staying close, Homestart and Suffolk leaving care team."
A need to stop hygiene poverty
The Hygiene Bank Waveney project co-ordinators Claire Gulliver and Natalie Clement said: "A lot of people hear hygiene and they automatically think tampons and sanitary towels.
"Although we are ever so grateful for these, we currently have enough of them and they can only support one group of people.
"We are however desperate for toilet rolls as well as washing powder, shampoo and conditioner, shower gels, razors, shaving foam, deodorants, nappies and pads for older people.
"Together with hairbrushes and flannels, beauty and grooming products and toothbrushes, all are needed to stop hygiene poverty.
"We are finding that families are using their limited money for food rather than washing.
"Imagine waking up and going for a job interview and not having brushed your teeth, had a shower in the morning or the whole family is washing with a bottle of fairy liquid?
"Some people are even washing their clothes and themselves in fairy liquid - which is not desirable."
In the run up to the festive season, the Hygiene Bank Waveney is now calling on the support of the community to further boost its Christmas appeal.
Project co-ordinators Claire Gulliver and Natalie Clement said: "We would like to say a massive thank you for everyone that has supported us so far be it through donations in store or through our Christmas appeal #itsinthebag - we have handed out 135 Christmas bags so far.
"We are really pleased how well it has gone since we started (The Hygiene Bank).
"We have been fortunate to obtain funding for storage with a grant from Suffolk Community Foundation.
"This has paid for a storage unit for a year but we have already outgrown it, which is fantastic but also a challenge.
"In the New Year we will be looking for more volunteers to help us, as it is just the two of us running it at the moment."
Anyone wishing to find out more should email email@example.com or contact its Facebook page The Hygiene Bank Waveney.