During the height of the COVID-19 Pandemic, foodbanks across the country were stretched to their limits and stocks of toiletries, in particular, were in very low supply. A small organisation operating in Solihull noticed this gap in provision for families accessing emergency aid and in late 2020 they launched a new Hygiene Bank in the West Midlands.

The Village is a global charity that provides wrap-around support for communities experiencing hardship, exclusion and isolation. Late last year, The Solihull Hygiene Bank became their first UK project to supply free items in high demand, such as period and baby products, shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant and PPE.

Part of a nationwide grassroots initiative, The Hygiene Bank aims to support those who are struggling with the stigma of hygiene poverty. Often run by volunteers, a local Hygiene Bank relies on people and businesses in the locality to collect and donate toiletries most needed by local people who can’t afford to purchase such items.

“Basic hygiene is a human right, not a privilege”

Despite being something that many of us take for granted, hygiene poverty is a widespread issue, with those struggling on low incomes having to make the difficult choice between buying food or keeping clean. A lack of access to hygiene products impacts confidence, self-esteem and prospects in those who are most vulnerable.

Since ‘The Village of Solihull’ project was established in November, over 47,000 hygiene items have been distributed to community groups across North Solihull and parts of Birmingham, helping over 600 local families who would otherwise struggle to pay for basic supplies. The charity intends to continue its initiative beyond the pandemic due to ongoing demand and the positive response from local partners working on the frontline.

Daisy-May Super, Village of Solihull Project Manager, said:

“We are so grateful to all of the businesses and community members who have supported the Hygiene Bank. The amount of donations that we have received has made such a huge difference in a short period of time, and has meant that we can support a large and diverse range of community partners to ensure that anyone in need can access them.”

For Volunteers’ Week, The Village Charity is calling upon local community members to provide additional help where they can to enable the Hygiene Bank offer to be sustained and grow further.

Based at Solihull Moors Football Club, The Village needs support with logistics, including people to lend a hand when new deliveries arrive; to help with delivering donations to local partners and dropping-off flyers at key sites to broaden awareness of the service.

To find out how to get involved, or to make a donation to The Solihull Hygiene Bank, please get in touch with Project Manager, Daisy-May Super: daisy-may@thevillagecharity.org

All volunteer expenses will be covered and there will be the opportunity to get involved in other projects led by The Village and their key partner, Solihull Moors Foundation.