Beauty and hygiene products are readily available yet these essential resources are taken for granted or amassed in such large quantities at home, that they are never used or see the light of day after purchasing. Tackling two issues here – “hygiene poverty” and beauty excess – PR Jo Jones and writer Sali Hughes have teamed up to create Beauty Banks.
Beauty Banks is a non-profit organisation like Foodbanks but with essential personal care and beauty items instead. They collect, re-package and distribute parcels to more than 125 charities operating in London, Brighton, Cardiff, South Wales, Essex, Manchester, Liverpool, Nottingham, Glasgow and more.
Since setting up Beauty Banks earlier this year, thousands of health and hygiene products have been donated by the public to the Beauty Banks scheme – everything from sanitary towels, tampons, toothpaste and shampoo, among others.
Co-founders Jo Jones and Sali Hughes were inspired to set up the social enterprise after learning that 37% of the UK have had to go without hygiene or grooming essentials due to lack of funds. Research by In Kind Direct last year shone a light on the issue of “hygiene poverty” in the UK, with some families reporting they’d had to choose between eating and keeping clean.
Drawing on their extensive experience in the beauty industry and conscious of the level of excess product within the community of journalists, bloggers, PRs and brands, Beauty Banks’ co-founders wanted to help redirect some of this surplus into the hands of those who desperately needed it.
Although Beauty Banks primarily focuses on collecting basic toiletries like toothpaste, feminine hygiene products, deodrants and shower gel, they also welcome otherwise-unattainable luxuries like make-up, which the women say helps to lift self-esteem.
Supporters can now purchase items via a wishlist at online cash-and-carry Easho too, including cost-effective multi-packs of essentials like toothpaste, tampons and shampoo. Volunteers then sort and deliver all items to a growing band of charity partners, including Trussell Trust food banks, homeless shelters, refuges and schools.
Future plans include lobbying to end period poverty in UK schools, as well as working on a grassroots structure, creating downloadable packs to help people set up their own local Beauty Banks.
For more information on making a donation to Beauty Banks, check out their Facebook page
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief @rosamedea