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Bare Necessities Toiletry Bank announces Operation NHS

When Bare Necessities’ spring ‘Operation Miniature’ was cancelled, as a coronavirus precaution, the charity had over six dustbins full of hotel minis, testers and samples ready to be sorted and assembled.

Just a week later the charity received a request from the Manchester University Foundation Trust for help providing toiletry crisis packs for their staff who are being re-deployed throughout the health trust and who will be staying away from their homes and families as they fight Covid-19.

Bare Necessities Toiletry Bank launched a new initiative, dubbed ‘Operation NHS’ which saw a limited number of volunteers sort the toiletries in their own homes and gardens, taking advantage of the great weather last week.

Mindful of social distancing and the Stay at Home policy, these were then bagged by Bare Necessities, co-founder, Lisa Barker and her family, who had no escape and so were co-opted to help.

Seventy-three packs were made up, each contained a selection of minis including soap, shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, body lotion, face cream, ear plugs, toothbrush and tooth paste and, where supplies permitted, deodorant.

These were delivered to the Manchester Foundation Trust, whose hospitals include the MRI, St Mary’s, Wythenshawe, Altrincham Hospital and Trafford General to be distributed to their front-line staff.

Earlier in the same week, Bare Necessities responded to a request for hand creams from a Wythenshawe hospital nurse, Karen Moore, who said; ‘It’s a busy place right now in hospital – very busy. The nurses on the wards are washing their hands more than ever to keep themselves and their patients safe. They are getting through lots of hand cream…if any of you …. would like to donate.’

Despite the lockdown and the need to stay home, Bare Necessities is still working and has donation bins in Waitrose, the Coop and Tesco for anyone doing their weekly shop who might like to do so.

Wendy Hobson of Bare Necessities Toiletry Bank told us; ‘the need grows steadily; the food banks are flat out and we want to keep up the support there as well as meeting the new need for toiletries for our NHS front line. The Manchester University Foundation Trust has said it will take as many packs as we are able to provide. Whilst you’re stuck at home please hunt down your hotel minis for us, we will re-purpose them and put them to good use. Please also consider adding a toiletry essential to your trolley when you shop this week, we are desperately short of toothbrushes, toothpaste and deodorant, and of course the hand creams for NHS nurses.’

Bare Necessities Toiletry Bank was founded by two Wilmslow women in February 2018 to collect and distribute toiletries within the local community to help alleviate hygiene poverty experienced by those in financial crisis.

At present Bare Necessities Toiletry bank supports various local charities including; Foodfriend at St Bartholomew’s Parish Church Wilmslow, The Red Bin at St Philip and St James’ Parish Church Alderley Edge, The Pankhurst Trust, Manchester Women’s Aid, The Wellspring Stockport, Smartworks Greater Manchester, Stockport Without Abuse, The Greater Manchester Women’s Support Alliance, Stockport Women’s Centre, Oakenclough Sure Start Nurseries, the Welcome Cafe and The Riverside Accommodation Project Wilmslow.

Collection bins are located throughout the community and are guest hosted on a campaign basis by local businesses and groups. Bare Necessities Toiletry Bank needs all full-size, everyday toiletries, feminine hygiene products, dental and baby products as well as hotel and beauty miniatures. The only proviso is that they must be unopened and unused. Please note during the current Coronavirus crisis only the bins in supermarkets are available.

You can find Bare Necessities Toiletry Bank on Instagram @barenecessities_toiletrybank, on Twitter @BNToiletryBank and on Facebook.

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