Record numbers of Brits turning to charities to get hygiene essentials

Data released by charitable organisation In Kind Direct shows adults have struggled to afford items such as surface cleaners, nappies, and baby wipes over the last 12 months.

And everyday hygiene products such as toothpaste, shampoo, and sanitary towels have also seen a surge.

Even period products, household bleach, razors, and washing capsules are sourced from non-profit organisations, as families try to cope with the rising cost of living.

Paul Buchanan, Interim CEO for In Kind Direct, which offers a simple solution to product giving by providing a single contact point for companies to donate to charities across the UK, said: “We believe every person deserves to feel clean.

“But for people forced to make the daily decision whether to heat, eat, or be clean, this human right is simply beyond their reach.

“We have seen a huge rise in demand from our network of charitable organisations, who are trying to support more people than usual as the cost-of-living crisis sets in.

“In addition, they’re struggling to stay afloat themselves, as they too experience higher running costs and decreased funding opportunities.

“When people hear of the term foodbank, they usually think of tins of food/long-lasting food items being donated.

“But more and more people are struggling to afford essential hygiene products like toilet roll, laundry items, soap, and period products, which are just as vital, and increasingly hard to budget for after food and utility bills for many low-income households.”

As many as 82 percent of charitable organisations within the In Kind Direct network reported an increase in the number of people they support from January to June 2022.

From January to June 2022, some demographics being supported the most with products included families with school aged children (76 percent), and people experiencing poor mental health (72 percent).

In response to the findings, Essity, makers of products including Cushelle and Velvet, have pledged to donate one million toilet rolls annually to In Kind Direct, to distribute through their charitable network to communities.

A spokesman for the hygiene and health company said: “Toilet roll is an essential necessity for everybody, nobody should have to go without it.

“When we found out it was the most requested item at community charities throughout the UK, we felt we had to act.

“The current economic crisis is a challenge for everybody – but for some it has brought about impossible choices between items that we simply cannot live without.

“Everyone deserves to have the essentials they need to stay clean, healthy, and for their general wellbeing.”

In Kind Direct has also published a new hygiene poverty report of 2,069 adults, The Human Right to Hygiene, which found almost a quarter (23 percent) of those going without hygiene products are too embarrassed to leave their homes.

Nearly half (47 percent) of low-income households have had to forgo hygiene products because they can no longer afford them.

A third (36 percent) of those who have gone without a hygiene product this year have avoided socialising with friends and family.

And 22 percent with children in the household, who have reported going without hygiene products this year, say they are worried about their children being bullied.

Paul Buchanan, from In Kind Direct, added: “Feeling unclean has such a negative impact on a person’s mental wellbeing and self-esteem.

“It’s not surprising many people turn to avoiding social contact, children start skipping school, and people start missing days at work, when they are having to go without essential hygiene products to feel clean and well.

“We’re committed to helping as many people as we can, but the numbers are growing rapidly.

“We rely on the generosity of companies like Essity, which support us with donating these essential products, so we can distribute them to our network who are on the frontline, supporting more struggling communities all over the country.”

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