“We know access to clean clothing might feel like a small thing but for kids going without, it can be socially excluding, inhibit learning and impact mental health.”
- Amy Harris, Brands & Schools Manager, The Hygiene Bank.
What Amy said. Which is exactly why we started working with The Hygiene Bank (an amazing charity) back in 2019 to deliver free laundry capsules directly to where they are needed most with our donate a wash scheme.
And with the help of our incredible customers we have hit the HALF A MILLION MARK!
That’s 500,000 laundry capsules making a difference to those of us that need some extra support. Hygiene should not be a luxury and everybody deserves to feel clean.
What is hygiene poverty?
You might be surprised that there are some of us facing poverty in this country but it’s now thought over 3 million of the UK population are living with hygiene poverty; and once a person finds themselves in this trap, they face enormous challenges breaking out of it. Without proper hygiene, adults struggle to find employment because they can never put their best foot forward during job interviews and children struggle to succeed in school.
Not wearing clean clothing to school has direct and serious impacts on a child and their ability to learn. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has found that many children are regularly missing school days for lack of a clean uniform.
8 in 10 primary school teachers say they have witnessed a rise in the number of children attending school unwashed or wearing unclean uniform in the last 5 years and have found themselves intervening at an increasing rate (one third of teachers regularly buy their pupils toiletry essentials).
If we know that access to hygiene products can help entire households improve their quality of life and even find their way out of poverty, then we want to do something that ensures this happens. And so, as it turns out, do our customers.
donate a wash.So many thousands of you lovely people now support our donate a wash scheme; helping us reach the incredible tally of half a million washes to The Hygiene Bank.
If you haven’t spotted donate a wash on your account it’s a really easy way to give to charity each and every time your smol order processes.
Activating the scheme on your smol plan is done by selecting the button via your online account. Turning this option on adds 30p to your smol order each time a smol pack processes for you and this ensures TWO free washes will donate to those living in hygiene poverty on your behalf.
Feedback from one Hygiene Bank delivery was sobering.
“Thank you! It’s an incredible donation and will help so many people. There were even a few tears from a lady that works at the Food Bank as she is asked so often for washing tablets and the normal answer is NO. It breaks her heart, and now she won’t have to say no.”
Suds in Schools.Another way to help join us in fighting hygiene poverty in the UK is to support our Suds in Schools campaign.
Suds in Schools launched in Autumn 2021 with the aim of raising £50,000 to install mini-
launderettes into schools across the UK. These machines give families in need free access to laundry facilities and detergent to ensure no child in their care has to suffer from the consequences of not having clean clothes/uniforms.
Each school is set up with a brand new washing machine/dryer (fully installed) and all the detergent they need to ensure children's clothing can be regularly laundered completely free of charge. Keep an eye on crowdfunder during the summer for our next round of fundraising where you can also nominate schools you think could house one of our mini-launderettes also.
As one of our headteachers stated:
“There is nothing “small” about smol’s efforts to support families in our school. We have engaged with the Suds in Schools programme from the off and it is already having an impact on the lives of our families.” - Sarah Smith, Exec Head Teacher, St Cuthbert’s Academy, Blackpool.
Of course, it's not always straightforward to set these stations up. It's vital to make sure the machine sits in a suitable area within school property, that families can have easy access without disturbing the school and always ensuring that children are safe-guarded.
BUT....we're making huge progress!
If you feel you want to get involved via any of our channels above then we would of course welcome your support. Hygiene poverty is very real and very distressing but there are smol ways to help and as our recent HALF A MILLION total proves… together we can make a big difference.