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Social grant helps Hygiene Hub fund life’s little essentials


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Social grant helps Hygiene Hub fund life’s little essentials Social grant helps Hygiene Hub fund life’s little essentials

A charity which collects and distributes hygiene products for Galway people struggling to afford them has been rewarded for its hard work with a grant of €20,000 to scale up its operation.

Galway and Dublin were the first two locations chosen by the Hygiene Hub to begin tackling hygiene poverty in 2019.

And since then, it has eight volunteers working in the city and county, where almost 6,500 kilos of products have been donated by members of the public at 24 drop-off locations.

The charity, which works with 17 community partners to distribute the goods, has a waiting list for badly needed donations, according to Sorcha Killian, Head of Finance and Operations.

“This grant of €20,000 from the Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Impact Programme will be divided up across our operations so we can scale up the number of drop-offs we can do to our community partners, and we hope to increase the size of the hubs and the number of hubs. We are also looking to increase advocacy and awareness of the service so more people know what we are doing,” she explains.

“We’d also like to do more work around policy in this area. We want to highlight the inability to afford or access hygiene items as a prevalent element of poverty in Ireland. By doing so, our mission is to remove the shame and stigma surrounding this issue and ensure that access to hygiene products is not overlooked.”

The three biggest things requested by community groups are soap, shampoo and laundry detergent. Among isolated older men, the key ask is razors with shaving cream.

“Razors are so expensive. People are struggling to even wash uniforms with the return to school. When we started in Galway and Dublin we were tracking the cost of goods. We used to spend €25 on basic hygiene items for one adult and one child – that has gone up to €55 and that’s just for the absolute essentials. Things have really got to crisis point for people in this cost-of-living crisis.”

During the inflation hikes, there has been a dip in the amount of goods donated at the drop-off points across seven parts of the country – that has slowly eased off again.

“To be honest we have waiting lists of community partners who could take stuff every week, but at the minute we’re only able to distribute every second week, even every month.

“We had emergency requests there for suncream for homeless people in the hot spell a fortnight ago so we try to respond as quickly as we can.”

Other hot tickets items are cleaning products, tampons, nappies and deodorant.

Úna Reynolds (pictured) set up the Galway branch of the UK charity, the Hygiene Bank, after her friend became a volunteer of the Dublin organisation. She and Liz Jacques are the project coordinators here.

Changing their name to the Hygiene Hub, they have distributed over 43,000 kilograms of hygiene goods to members of the homeless population, low-income families, asylum seekers and the elderly via its community partner network.

The Impact Programme has awarded €20,000 to five social entrepreneurs in this latest round of funding and will deliver tailored support and training in areas such as fundraising, communications, governance and leadership throughout the nine-month programme.

CEO of Social Entrepreneurs Ireland (SEI) Tim Griffiths said: “We believe that true change begins with the passion and dedication of individuals who dare to challenge the status quo. With bespoke supports from SEI and our community, we know they will go on to deliver a more inclusive, equitable, and sustainable future.”

People can find their local donation site at using the map.

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