- A new survey of teachers reveals that more UK schoolchildren are expected to go back to school this year needing basic hygiene items
- Boots will donate 50,000 products to The Hygiene Bank – including essentials such as soap, deodorant and toothbrushes – to be distributed to schools through the charity’s network
- The public can help further by donating items at one of 500 drop off points in Boots stores across the UK
- Nine in 10 teachers report that children with these basic essentials are more likely to come into school feeling confident and ready to learn
- Boots and the hygiene bank have worked together since 2020 with Boots donating over one million products over that time
As millions of children return to school after the summer holidays, a new survey from Boots and The Hygiene Bank reveals that almost all teachers (97%) report that some of the children in their care need more basic hygiene items.
To help more children start the new school year with confidence, Boots and The Hygiene Bank have launched a new campaign to donate hygiene products to children and schools.
Through its continued partnership with The Hygiene Bank, Boots will donate an additional 50,000 products this September including items that children really need like toothbrushes, toothpastes, shampoo, shower gel, deodorants and period products. These products will be distributed through The Hygiene Bank’s network to schools and local community projects to support children and families who are experiencing hygiene poverty on a daily basis.
Since 2020, Boots, with the support of its customers, has donated over one million products to people living in hygiene poverty. Members of the public can continue to donate full and unopened products via one of 500 Hygiene Bank donation points in Boots stores across the UK. Alternatively, customers can make a donation direct The Hygiene Bank by buying an e-Voucher on boots.com.
Lucy Reynolds, Director of Communications and ESG at Boots, said: “We know that back to school can be a challenging time for many families, this year more than ever. Together with The Hygiene Bank we hope to help by donating an extra 50,000 essential products, including soap, shower gel, toothpaste, deodorant and period products - things that many of us take for granted. Having access to these basic items can help young people feel more confident going back to school. Anyone can help this very important campaign by dropping off any full and unopened items to one of our 500 Hygiene Bank donation points in Boots stores across the country. I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has donated so far.”
The impact of having easy access to simple toiletries can be huge. Nine in 10 (91%) teachers reported that children with basic essentials are more likely to come into school feeling confident and ready to get stuck into lessons. After supplying pupils with hygiene products, teachers report that pupils seem happier (60%), they interact with other pupils more (45%) and 42% said they thought the pupil was more willing to learn.
Over three quarters (78%) of teachers said that hygiene poverty is a serious issue in the UK, which could be a barrier to children reaching their full potential at school, with period products, deodorant and shower gel the most in-demand items for school-aged children.
Ruth Brock, CEO of The Hygiene Bank, said: “No child should be getting ready for the first day of term without a clean uniform or the products they need to shower and brush their teeth. Many parents are sadly finding themselves in the difficult position of choosing between buying a meal for their family, or basic hygiene necessities like soap, deodorant and period products – and income is becoming even more stretched due to the cost of living crisis. From our work with schools we know hygiene poverty negatively impacts children’s mental and physical well-being – from reduced participation in class and sports, to self-isolation from peers. Equally, the demand for our support in schools continues to dramatically grow from both students and their families. Our ongoing partnership with Boots means that together we can help tackle this growing issue and provide essential hygiene and personal care products to those who need them most.”
The Hygiene Bank has supported over 560 schools across the UK to date, delivering hygiene essentials to directly support families in need. The charity will often work closely with the family liaison officer who will discreetly distribute products to the children and their families, or items like period products and deodorants can be placed in the toilets for anyone to use, should they need to.
Key findings of the new survey by Boots and The Hygiene Bank were:
- Over three quarters (78%) of teachers feel hygiene poverty is a serious issue in the UK – with period products, deodorant and shower gel the most in-demand items for school-aged children.
- Nine in 10 (91%) teachers feel that children with basic essentials are more likely to come into school feeling confident and ready to get stuck into lessons.
- After providing pupils with hygiene products, teachers said they thought the pupil seemed happier (60%), interacted with other pupils more (45%) and was more willing to learn (42%).
- Hygiene poverty is seen as a barrier to children reaching their full potential at school, and as a result:
- 46% of teachers believe pupils stop taking part in P.E lessons
- 42% think they stop playing or socialising with friends during school
- 42% think they stop coming to school at all
- 34% agree that they stop interacting with peers in lessons and stop going to after school clubs.
- 26% have observed students not meeting their academic capabilities or missing a lesson
You can find out more information about the Boots and The Hygiene Bank partnership here.
East Sussex school growing in need
Since 2019 The Hygiene Bank has supported a small primary school in East Sussex, with less than 90 students. When the local Hygiene Bank Project began providing hygiene essentials to the school, they were supporting seven families. By July 2022, the number rose to 22 including six Ukrainian families.
The East Sussex School Secretary said: “As a small school where a third of the school community are eligible for Free School meals and come from low income families, The Hygiene Bank donations have really made a difference. Our families are proud people who don’t like to ask for things or admit they can’t afford to buy the essentials. Being offered a bag that contains toilet rolls, washing powder and period products as well as everything else that we need on a day-to-day basis, makes such a difference. This might on average save them £20 off that weekly shop and that really helps. My parents rely on these bags to get them through the month and are so relieved when they receive it. I regularly have parents crying with gratitude and saying thank goodness I have given it to them as they were really going to struggle this month, having to make difficult decisions about where their income goes had they not received it. The Hygiene Bank supports our families in so many ways but primarily helps us to look after our children and parents.”