Donate: The Hygiene Bank
In October, Jo Dunbar met the women working to limit hygiene poverty in our region. Now, High Life North has joined one of the fantastic businesses doubling up as a drop-off point for needed donations
It comes as no surprise that COVID-19 saw a huge increase in food bank users; between April and July of this year, the amount of people using food banks increased by 210%, compared to the same period last year. Hygiene poverty is another casualty of the pandemic, with food banks and charities regularly running out of hygiene products, such is the demand. And yet, it’s not necessarily the first thing people think to donate to those in need.
Jess Graham and Sophie Brydon co-ordinate Newcastle’s Hygiene Bank – something they run voluntarily outside of their full-time jobs – and have been delivering hygiene products to charities and food banks across the city since the charity launched two years ago.
‘The pandemic has brought it a bit more into focus,’ explains Jess. ‘Once you recognise the need for food banks and start thinking logically, it’s quite clear that if you’re not able to afford food then you’re also not going to be able to afford hygiene products or cleaning products. It’s such a stigmatised place to be, if you’re not able to keep yourself or your family clean. That’s where major issues arise, with attendance at school or the confidence to go to a job interview affected. And, right now, keeping clean has never been more important.’
‘We know that people will stop buying hygiene products before they stop buying food,’ Sophie adds. ‘There are some people in this country – a wealthy, first world country – that have to make those kinds of decisions every day. When people think about poverty, they think about food and housing. They don’t think about hygiene poverty. That’s why it’s our job to be hygiene poverty activists as much as we are charity workers. If we don’t speak up, who will hear their voices?’
We at High Life North have been so inspired after chatting to Jess and Sophie that we’ve decided to do our bit to help the plight against hygiene poverty in our region. That’s why, as of today, we’ve become a designated drop-off zone for anyone willing to donate any hygiene products they can.
WHAT THEY NEED:
Hygiene poverty isn’t just a female issue. Yes, the Hygiene Bank will gladly welcome period products, female-scented deodorants, shampoos and shower gels. But please also bear in mind that around 5% of their donations are for men, so shaving products, men’s scented deodorants and showers gels would also be greatly appreciated. Baby products are also in huge demand, so donations of nappies, baby wipes, baby shampoo, talcum powder and cotton wool will also help keep all children in the North East clean.
Whether you donate one item or 10, anything you’re able to give really will make such a huge difference to life in our incredible region.
HOW TO DONATE:
Please bring your donations to Dobson House, Regent Farm Road, Gosforth, Newcastle NE3 3PF. The donations box is located in Main Reception.
To learn more about Newcastle’s Hygiene Bank and where else to donate, or to volunteer, visit: thehygienebank.com
To read Jo’s full interview with Jess and Sophie.