Beauty Banks and Linkey share the love this Valentine’s Day

New non-profit organisations need your help to provide vital toiletries, sanitary products and more to people living in poverty – starting with a new kind of Valentine's Day gift…

Looking for that perfect Valentine’s Day gift? How about using your purchasing power to help people who really need it.

Two new organisations are helping those living in poverty with essential toiletries, sanitary products, razors and beauty products. And with online wishlists, it is easier than ever to donate.

Non-profit organisation Beauty Banks, the brainchild of journalist Sali Hughes and beauty PR Jo Jones, launches today.

Clean hair, skin and teeth are a right, not a privilege

Beauty Banks aims to galvanise the beauty bloggers, journalists and magazines constantly in receipt of free samples and new products to trial, the brands, retailers and PR people in charge of marketing and distributing beauty products and toiletries – as well as the rest of us who may have unwanted Christmas gifts still tucked away or wish to donate – to provide sanitary products, beauty products, toiletries and cosmetics to people living in poverty.

Writing for The Pool, Hughes said: “Clean hair, skin and teeth are a right, not a privilege. Personal hygiene – while not a matter of life and death – is crucial for our dignity, self-respect, personal pride and mental health. To feel clean is to feel better; to look good often makes us feel more able to face the day and the world.”

The list of toiletries and cosmetics they will collect and distribute ranges from sanitary towels and tampons to shampoo and deodorant, plasters and bandages, shower gels, razors, lipsticks and lotions. These will be packaged up by volunteers and distributed via Trussell Trust food banks and homeless shelter partners.

Packages can be sent to Beauty Banks, c/o Jo Jones, The Communications Store, 2 Kensington Square, London W8 5EP or ordered from Boots, Superdrug and via Beauty Banks’ specially tailored Amazon Wishlist.

We created the #ADifferentKindOfLove campaign to encourage people to spread love to those who really need it

New social enterprise Linkey was set up last year by Londoners Josh Adley and Natasha Langleben. Their goal is “to link those who care with those who need” using our propensity to purchase products online to distribute much needed essentials to people living in poverty. This Valentine’s Day, they are asking us to show #ADifferentKindOfLove.

Their online store has a range of products including sleeping bags, toiletries and underwear. They also are providing Valentine’s Packs containing thermal gloves, a toothbrush, toothpaste, shower gel and deodorant for sale for just £8 – the same cost as flowers and chocolates bought in a hurry from a local garage, apparently.


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Once bought online, these will be distributed to a homeless shelter or rough sleeper in or around London at the group’s regular ‘drop offs’.

Adley told The Big Issue: “Valentine’s Day is seen by many as such a commercial holiday. We created the #adifferentkindoflove campaign to encourage people to spread love to those who really need it. For £8 you can make someone’s day and provide them with some thermal gloves and essential toiletries. Hopefully it will bring the love back into Valentine’s.”

In the seven weeks since its launch, Linkey has received more than £15,000 of orders and sold 800 Valentine’s packs.

The two new organisations join a host of social enterprises around the country in acknowledging that living in poverty can mean choosing between food and hygiene, shelter or sanitary products. These include the brilliant work of the Hey Girls social enterprise– who are vowing to Make Period Poverty History in Scotland.

Homelessness continues to rise, with recent figures showing that levels of rough sleeping have increased for seven consecutive years. So, in the absence of a coherent political plan to prevent poverty, the work of these social enterprises and non-profit organisations is increasingly vital as more people fall through the welfare safety net.

For more great gift ideas – for Valentine’s Day and beyond – check out the range of products in The Big Issue Shop, all of which have an important social echo…

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