Many of the 14 million people in the UK living in poverty are forced to make tough choices between buying food, paying utilities or keeping clean. For the UK’s first National Hygiene Week, Cleanology has teamed up with The Hygiene Bank, which raises awareness about hygiene poverty and distributes personal hygiene and cleaning products to those in need.
Cleanology founder and CEO, Dominic Ponniah, said: “The statistics are shocking. One fifth of the population is struggling with poverty, and two thirds of those people are in work. For many, the choice between spending money on food and on daily cleaning items is a harsh reality which we feel compelled to tackle.”
For National Hygiene Week, which runs from 14–20 September, Cleanology is organising collections from 300 clients. It is also encouraging its own staff to donate toiletries and hygiene products. As well as arranging the collections, it will promote the week through social media channels.
The Hygiene Bank Founder, Lizzy Hall, said: “We started the charity to alleviate hygiene poverty in the UK, not thinking how significant the issue would be during a pandemic. Now, we not only need to keep clean, but also need to have a constant supply of PPE. That is a costly ask for many of us. Most of the issues we’re addressing revolve around better financial security for all, not some. With that, we are very excited to host the first National Hygiene Week. During this week, we aim to raise awareness about the hidden crisis that is hygiene poverty in the UK.”
Ponniah said: “Figures show that one in three people living in the UK have had to go without hygiene essentials, or cut down on purchases for financial reasons. To be in this situation in 2020 is just unacceptable. The greatest challenge is awareness. Over the coming week, we aim to collect a sizeable number of products from our clients and staff but, longer-term, we will continue to support Hygiene Bank, with the goal of eradicating hygiene poverty altogether.”
In Kind Direct’s research shows that people will have stopped buying toiletries long before they approach a food bank. The impact on self-worth and on wider success in life can be huge – from losing a job opportunity due to dirty clothes, to children being bullied, or ill health caused by poor dental care. The Hygiene Bank manages a national donation framework that enables people to donate products locally, in much the same way as a food bank.
National Hygiene Week calls for people to say #BOGOF to poverty by taking advantage of Buy-one-get-one-free offers. The Hygiene Bank is asking the public to donate the additional product to one of its 766 drop off locations, and to help raise awareness about the issue more widely by posting the donation on social media, using the #BOGOF and @nationalhygieneweek tags.