Call for community action to help end hygiene poverty in Herts

PUBLISHED: 08:27 03 September 2019

Staff and children of Crabtree School with their donations.

Staff and children of Crabtree School with their donations.

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A Hertfordshire-based hygiene bank is calling for support so it can expand across the county after launching to great success in West Herts.

The Hygiene Bank was set up last year as a response to the Ken Loach film: I, Daniel Blake when founder Lizzy Hall discovered that foodbanks rarely received donations of hygiene items and hygiene poverty had been identified as a 'hidden crisis' - with families being forced to choose between buying food or being clean.

Herts Hygiene Bank encourages the community to donate basic, essential new hygiene items and distribute them to charities who then give them to those they support.

Harpenden has six drop-off points and St Albans has seven - but the organisers are now looking to extend the service to other areas of Herts.

Lizzy said: "Can you imagine being a teenage girl that has to miss school because she's got her period? Or the guy who cannot have a shave before going to a job interview?

"These things really impact self-esteem, self-confidence, not to mention our dignity.

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"Hygiene poverty is shaming, isolating and excluding.

"Clean hair, skin and teeth are not a privilege.

"Tampons, toothpaste and a toothbrush are not luxury items and although personal hygiene is not a matter of life and death, being clean makes us feel better, help us fit into society and make us more employable and helps children to perform better in school.

One in 10 girls aged between 14 and 21 cannot afford sanitary towels or tampons and so miss school because they are having their period, according to Plan International UK - a children's charity who strive to advance children's rights and equality for girls all over the world.

About getting involved, Lizzy added: "Are you a local business, school or community group who could host a donation box, or even a coffee morning or other fundraising event to support us to raise our profile and purchase necessary products?"

Full support will be given to any organisations who are able to help.

To get in touch and find out more email thbhertfordshire@gmail.com. For current drop-off points in Herts visit thehygienebank.com/hertfordshire.

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