The Big Issue is teaming up with a charity tackling hygiene poverty in a bid to raise awareness of its work.
This week’s issue of the magazine will feature a special supplement on the Hygiene Bank, which warns that many people have to choose between eating and keeping clean.
The charity was set up in 2018 by Lizzy Hall after she was moved by watching the depiction of a mother who could not afford hygiene products in the Ken Loach film I, Daniel Blake.
She said hygiene poverty is a “hidden crisis” affecting communities across the UK.
Demand for help from the Hygiene Bank has accelerated rapidly because of the pandemic, with the charity distributing £3.5 million worth of products last year – seven times more than in 2019 – ranging from shampoo and soap to household cleaning items.
Since its launch, more than 657,000kg of products have been donated, collected, sorted and distributed to some 2,000 community partners, including schools, charities and local authorities, who ensure donations reach those who need them.
The network of 150 local Hygiene Bank projects across the UK is run by more than 460 volunteers, who collect products from some 1,000 drop-off locations.
Chief executive Edgar Penollar said: “We know that, of the people in poverty, many are the working poor, people who are getting up each day working two or three jobs to put food on the table and pay their bills.
“One of the positives that came out of the lockdowns was that we saw communities come together to help their neighbours.
“We are grateful to the Big Issue in helping us expand our message across the UK.”
Big Issue editor Paul McNamee said: “In one of the toughest years we have ever seen, grassroots organisations like the Hygiene Bank have been vital for many people.
“We are delighted to be working with them to increase awareness of their hugely important work supporting some of the most vulnerable people in our society.”