Frequently Asked Questions

1Do you take nearly full or barely used toiletries?
Unfortunately we do not accept nearly full or barely used products. We know this seems wasteful but can't accept them due to health and safety restrictions. We also believe in empowering dignity; Just as you wouldn't give an already used product as a gift, we want to show our recipients the same respect.
2Do you take open packs of tampons?
No. The lifespan of a tampon is said to be 5 years, but a wrapped tampon after its expiry date has passed looks the same as one bought more recently. Tampons are not sterile items when wrapped and so can be susceptible to mould and infection (this can be unseen in the applicator). This can cause irritation and infection and in more serious cases, onset of Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS). Some brands such as Carefree do not use expiry dates whilst Tampax show two dates on their boxes: one is the production date and the other is the expiry date. Currently, organic tampon brands do not have to state their expiry date. As you can see it is all a little confusing so to be safe we must air on the side of caution.
3Do you take open packs of diposable nappies?
Yes. It is not unusual for a baby or toddler to grow out of a size of nappy part way through a packet or box of nappies. Parents may have tried or accidentally purchased a new brand which didn’t suit their child or they might have left spare nappies in a different bag, in the car or at the grandparents’ house only to find that once again their child had grown out of them. Rather than throw them away we’ll distribute them support families in crisis or in need such as women’s shelters and refuges, mothers facing homelessness, parenting support organisations and community organisations.
4Do you accept cloth nappies and reusable sanitry pads?
We do not accept cloth nappies or reuseable sanitary products. Unfortunately these are not practical for the families and girls we assist as they do not have access to private laundering facilities. On average a baby can use 50-70 nappies a week which requires a significant cost and time commitment to laundering. The families and girls we assist are already facing very stressful circumstances so we aim to provide them with the easiest options possible. We do try where possible to give out moon cups but in truth there is not huge demand and we have a surplus in storage. Many of those in temporary accommodation or homeless don't have frequent access to the cleaning and sanitation facilities required. Some religious groups and cultures do not accept or encourage internal methods of protection. Many of our users are young girls and most pulbic and school loos have washing faciliites outside of the cubicle.
5Do you accept make-up?
We love make-up and these are always greatly appreciated. Mascara and lipstick can make a huge difference to someone's mood and confidence. For health and safety reasons we can only take new and unused make-up.
6What products don't you accept?
We cannot take health supplements and vitamins, body slimming and weight loss products.
7Do you take hairdryers, electric styling products and shavers?
Yes but again due to health and safety restrictions these must be brand new, in their orignial packaging and pre-fitted with a UK plug.
8Why do you give out products that aren't environmentally friendly, contribute to the plastic problem or aren't cruelty-free?
While we are environmentally and ecologically aware in our own lives and try to apply ethical and sustainable practices with the charity's resources, we know that these choices are a privilege not everyone can afford to make. We are here to make lives easier and receivers of our donations are struggling to survive with their dignity intact. Therefore our primary concern is to support them and we appreciate all donations. However we do recognise that many everyday essentials from toilet paper packaging, plastic bottles, toothbrushes, deodorant and cotton buds are not environmentally or animal friendly. We are looking at ways to mitigate the harm and appreciate suggestions from our supporters. Many donations are given to us in plastic bags and rather than dispose of these bags they are resused to distrubute goods to our charity partners.
9Shouldn't responsibility for giving these products to those in need be addressed by the Government and not by charities like yourself?
We can all see that Frontline services are unable to respond effectively to demand, that Councils are unable to invest in much needed programmes to address local poverty, brexit distracts from planning, policy making and legislative reform. So at the highest level yes - there are contributing factors to poverty that the Government could actually deal with and we are working with our Patron Baroness Susan Kramer to keep the conversation going on the political stage. But, ultimately, we live in a world where we need to share social responsibility. It’s easy to say it’s not my child, not my community, not my problem. Then there are those who see need and respond, these are our volunteers and that’s the model of the Hygiene Bank. A grass roots community initiative helping those in that same community that are struggling.
10How do you know the need is genuine?
Our model ensures we only support organisations who in turn have their referral policies in place. Working with frontline agencies also ensures that all of end user beneficiaries receive the necessary ongoing support in order to target the root cause of their problems.