How Boots has given me the opportunity to make an impact: Tackling Hygiene Poverty
I’m Charlotte, Assistant Marketing Manager for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Sustainability at Boots UK. I look after the partnership between Boots and The Hygiene Bank.
The Hygiene Bank is a charity that tackles hygiene poverty – the inability to afford the everyday items most of us take for granted. Imagine having to choose between eating, or staying clean because you can’t afford both? Not being unable to change your baby’s nappy or having to use rolled up loo roll, or socks because you can’t afford sanitary products – this can be the reality for 1 in 5 people in the UK who currently live in poverty.
This is why in February I worked on introducing donation points to 25 Boots stores, which means customers can now donate toiletries directly to The Hygiene Bank. While I was working on a long-term plan to build on this, we went into lockdown due to Covid-19. This meant that donations were reducing at a time when poverty is increasing, as more vulnerable people began to lose their jobs; so it was vital we had to change the plan, and fast!
Within 2 weeks I pulled together a team of people who work across Boots UK and Global Brands to unlock over 200,000 units of products to donate to The Hygiene Bank. This meant establishing a logistics system to get the products to the people who need them, with the support of Fare Share’s distribution network. This project has grown significantly larger as the need has grown and expanded to supply patient packs for the NHS Nightingale Hospital and NHS staff at other hospitals around the country.
Sadly, COVID-19 has increased hygiene poverty, many people are unable to buy the products they need to lower their risk of contracting Coronavirus. From the support of Boots UK, Global Brands, and generous members of the public, the Hygiene Bank ensures fewer people in poverty need to choose between paying for rent or feeding their families and staying clean, helping to address inequality in the fight against COVID-19.
Whilst working on this project I have learned so much about parts of the business I have not been involved in before, such as the Supply Chain. I have met and worked with people across the business, strengthening my leadership and relationship building skills along the way.
I am incredibly proud of the team who worked on this project, everyone has pulled together outside their usual roles with one goal… helping people during this time of uncertainty. I love being part of this project, it means much more than work, rather a real feeling that I can make a difference.
To help The Hygiene Bank, please text BASICS to 70085 to donate £5 or click here to visit their website.