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Charities are seeing increased demand for essential toiletries and personal care products. Here’s how you can help…
Products like toothbrushes, tampons, soap, shower gel and shampoo are everyday items that you and I can take for granted. However, these products are becoming financially out of reach for many as hygiene poverty increases in the UK.
Many people see hygiene poverty as the third leg of the well-publicized “silk or eat” dilemma of the cost-of-living crisis. In fact, it is estimated that there are over 14 million people living below the poverty line (yes, in 2022) in the UK, making it difficult or impossible to purchase these essentials.
Britain’s consumer price inflation hit an annual rate of 9.4% in June, compared with May, as inflation hit a 40-year high. 9.1%, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), putting a further strain on household budgets.
Hygiene poverty in the UK has been exacerbated by the cost of living crisis, with demand for toiletries and sanitary products distributed by charities across the UK soaring, charities warn.
Toiletries Amnesty supports more than 500 charities and community organisations, such as women’s shelters, domestic violence charities, refugee support groups, food banks and homeless shelters. in 2021 provided more than 2.25 million people’s access to toilet facilities. The organization is seeing increased demand from organizations such as food banks, refugee support groups and domestic violence charities distributing its products.
Karen Harvey, founder of the organisation, says: “Despite the cost of living crisis making the problem much worse now, there is no commitment or funding to provide hygiene products to people who cannot afford them. Instead, organizations like ours fill the gap.
“Homeless shelters and hospitals struggle to get funding for the absolute basics, let alone the ability to provide personal care supplies to the thousands of people they work to help every day.
Harvey talks about a mental health nurse based in Cambridge where the hospital’s funding was cut so they couldn’t afford bath products. She continues, “They had a bathtub that was usable, but no products, just basic hand soap dispensers on the wall.”
The organization expects demand to continue to rise as more and more people have less disposable income. Harvey also saw a drop in individual casualties.
Brands like L’OccitaneWeleda, Dermalogica and Sanctuary Spaand beauty industry companies like it Feelunique and Harmonious Spa Association donated but Toiletries Amnesty urgent financial support is needed. “The amazing team at beauty brand Comfort Zone are doing 26 miles in September. This support means we can fund the distribution of products to people who really need them,” says Harvey.
“People can’t afford the bills, let alone take care of themselves.”
“It started as a safe space where you don’t have to judge, to be heard, listened to and understood.” Women have this space to support each other and we do well-being workshops and recovery from domestic violence. Soon after we settled in, we saw people struggling with hygiene poverty. At first we used to buy supplies for them, but now that has changed and we rely solely on donations.
Such charities have no funding for their toiletry bank or volunteers. “We have to use the money from the lottery,” says Critch. “It’s all about kindness.”
Feathers Futures has also seen a recent increase in demand. “We ran out of shampoo for the first time last week. This is a direct effect of the high cost of living. People can’t afford their bills, let alone take care of themselves. That’s the first thing,” says Critch.
Benefits do not exceed £257.69 per week (£13,400 per year) if you are a single adult outside of London. Benefits rose by 3.1 percent in April, but with inflation hitting 9.1 percent in May, it’s clear that people’s spending is falling.
Where charities used to simply see people needing toiletries, there is now a bigger problem with women and children asking for products such as toilet roll or washing powder. “It used to be a short-term problem if people had their benefits cut, or in October when people stopped their summer seasonal jobs, but now it’s a long-term situation,” Critch says.
These charity toiletry cupboards are open to all without judgement, but the women are shamed and shamed. “We had a woman who didn’t go outside when she got her period and she wore stockings. We had one lady wash her hair with fairy liquid because she didn’t want to ask for anything. Now the girls who are still in school come to the door.
Kelvin Hughes, CEO Community furniture projectcharity, based in Newbury, echoes similar sentiments: “When food parcels are requested, feminine hygiene products are now regularly requested. This was not as little as two years ago. These requests are especially made by refugees from Afghanistan and Ukraine.
Charities and organizations work tirelessly to help others across the country.
Here’s how you can help fight hygiene poverty
Financial donations and fundraising
All donations, big or small, help cover day-to-day running costs, such as donating products to women and children in dire need. You can donate toiletries to Amnesty here.
Could Toiletries Amnesty be your charity of the year? Would your company like to make a big impact on the work it can do? Contact Karen and the team for a valuable and supportive relationship.
If you are a brand or organization that would like to donate larger quantities of products, excess inventory, or products that are expiring, please fill out the following information. short form of donor.
If you are an individual or would like to donate a small amount of toiletries, click here here To see the Amnesty catalog of toiletries. You can see what the organizations are doing, where they are and how to contact them.
Donate broken jewelry
Broken Jewelry Project takes broken and unwanted jewelry and turns it into beautiful bracelets. Proceeds from sales will go directly to helping those in need, so the cycle of kindness continues.