What is York’s Hygiene Centre?

The Hygiene Bank is a people-powered charity and social movement, grounded in the community. Vision sat down to discuss what they do, why they do it, and what you can do to help.

Started in only 2021, The Hygiene Bank York aims to tackle hygiene poverty locally by providing essential hygiene products to those who need them.

What support do you offer?

The Hygiene Bank York collects new, unused and in-date personal care and household cleaning essentials. These are donated to our community partners, such as local charities. We can provide specific hygiene essentials and care packages, such as family care packages: laundry detergent, nappies, wipes and soap or individual care packages: shower gel, shampoo and period products. We’ve also been a part of awareness events, including a panel session discussing period poverty.

How can people access this support?

The Hygiene Bank York has a network of community partners who we offer our support to. We can signpost those that may need support, and we encourage organisations, charities and schools to get in touch if they need support.

Is there any student specific support available?

We’ve had student societies involved with the project through fundraising efforts, but should anyone need support, we can signpost students to our network of community partners or work alongside your educational setting to provide donations where necessary.

Why do you do what you do?

Hygiene poverty is not being able to afford the everyday hygiene and personal care essentials that many of us take for granted. We believe it is not right that feeling clean should be a luxury or a privilege for anyone in our society, but this is not the case for many. Our project was started to ensure that those who are having to forego the everyday essentials, like brushing your teeth, putting on deodorant, having period products available, are supported and have access to the basics they need. And we will continue to offer our support to the local community so that those experiencing hygiene poverty have somewhere to get help.

How can people get involved to help?

We are always in need of donations, and with National Hygiene Week coming up in October (2nd-8th October), we are encouraging our community to get involved where they can! This year’s focus is ‘5 ways in 5 Days’, which will centre on how people, communities and local businesses can work together to tackle hygiene poverty.

You can either help us raise awareness (check out our website [https://thehygienebank.com/give-products/yorkshire/] for ideas!), or you can donate products to one of our 20 drop-off points in and around the City of York. Or perhaps you could even organise a fundraiser to either raise funds or collect products! We appreciate all the help we receive from our local community, and if you would like to know more about how you could get involved, please get in touch!

How important is it that people get involved?

Supporting The Hygiene Bank York helps not just one organisation, but multiple grassroots initiatives tackling issues from poverty to homelessness in the local area. With the cost-of-living crisis, we have seen a rise in requests and the number of calls asking for help, so we are always looking for people to get involved. Our hygiene bank relies on donations that are collected, sorted and distributed to our network of community partners, so the more people we can get involved, whether through raising awareness or donating products, the more support we are able to offer in our local community.