Give a Little Dignity With Beauty Banks: The Movement Fighting Hygiene Poverty

Most of us luckily take personal hygiene for granted. Buying whatever we need, whenever we need it. Those of us of who are involved with or who have friends and family involved with teaching, social care, nursing and emergency service may already know though, that for far too many, personal hygiene is a luxury they simply cannot afford.

Sali Hughes - a journalist - noticed while filming a report on homelessness a small box under the front desk of a homeless shelter containing tampons, disposable razors, toothpaste, soap etc. She discovered these were items brought in by staff and volunteers enabling those they were helping to have access to the hygiene essentials most of us are able to toss into a shopping trolley with scarcely a thought. Determined to act Sali contacted her friend and colleague Jo Jones and within 48hrs Beauty Banks was up and running.

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Beauty Banks - like Food Banks - collect, collate and distribute essential hygiene packs to those in need via partner charities, food banks, homeless shelters, NHS trusts, schools, family centres and churches all over the UK.

“We all have to  make choices but those faced by people living in poverty can be incredibly stark” says Sali. “ Invariably people in this position would choose to eat rather than stay clean.”

Over the last 2 years the reaction and response to Beauty Banks has been overwhelming and the initiative has even been discussed in a House of Commons debate on Poverty. 

We can all do our bit to help the cause by donating any unused and unopened toiletries - including minis from hotels - and dropping them off at our nearest food bank. Alternatively if you live near Manchester you can find ‘drop off’ points in Superdrug (Piccadilly, Arndale or Salford). Superdrug is supporting Beauty Banks by trialing this in their Manchester stores - if this proves popular they will roll out these ‘drop off’ points nationwide. For other options on donations and drop-offs near you visit www.beautybanks.net.

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So far beauty brands and retailers have been incredibly supportive and been extraordinarily generous but Sali believes that some huge multi-nationals could still step in and change lives overnight.

“The dignity of cleanliness shouldn’t be special; a shower shouldn’t be a luxury but a basic human right”

While waiting for these conglomerates to step up to the mark we can help to bridge the gap with generosity and donations of our own.