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Sharp increase in UK charities helping people cope with destitution and mental illness


  • 78% of charities in In Kind Direct’s network giving out basic supplies.
  • Increased demand on charities to alleviate destitution above and beyond their mission
  • 66% said that access to In Kind Direct goods helped to address poor physical and mental well-being and 57% said it helped to reduce isolation among beneficiaries.
  • 34 Mind branches have used In Kind Direct which “helps supply people with the everyday products they’d otherwise be going without. Little things [that] can actually have a massive impact on someone’s ability to stay well and live a full life” said Paul Farmer CBE, CEO, Mind

In Kind Direct, a charity dedicated to redistributing donated goods to thousands of charities across the UK, has today announced in its latest annual impact survey, that the number of charities in its network being asked to give out essentials such as toothpaste, shampoo and nappies to people facing destitution has risen sharply year on year.

78% of the 1,024 charities and not-for-profit organisations responding to In Kind Direct’s annual survey reported that they provided products to people struggling to afford basic supplies in 2015, a 23 percentage point increase on last year.

“Every day, many people across the UK struggle to afford basic items that most of us take for granted, including people affected by mental health problems. We know that there is a link between debt, financial problems and mental health, with one affecting the other. Not being able to afford essentials like shampoo, toothpaste and washing powder can further negatively impact on someone’s mental and physical health. More often than not, people turn to charities when they are faced with difficulties”.


Paul Farmer CBE, CEO of Mind


“More and more people are asking their local charities for help that goes above and beyond what the charity was set up to do: older people’s support groups are being asked to provide users with toothbrushes and washing up liquid and youth clubs are being asked to provide young people with clothing and basic personal hygiene goods”.


Laura Hales, Head of Charity Partnerships at In Kind Direct


This is happening as small charities face a context of increasing overall demand for their services and static or falling funding. 81% of the charities responding to the survey said that demand for their services had increased in the last 12 months, whilst 70% reported that their income had remained the same or decreased.

Increased demands on charities to deliver services not immediately connected to their core mission suggests that despite record employment, many people in the UK are still struggling to afford a basic standard of living which others would take for granted. This comes after recent research from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) which reported that 5.9 million individuals in the UK living in households with one to four children had incomes below the level needed for an adequate standard of living in 2013/14 - a 45% increase on 2008/9.

“Our network of 140 local Minds across England and Wales help support people affected by mental health problems. Many of those who come through their door are also experiencing social issues such as problems with debt, housing and benefits. That’s why Mind has launched a major new five year campaign, Life Support, highlighting the importance of community services that provide advice, information and social contact for people with mental health problems. We’re also pleased to be working with In Kind Direct to help supply people with the everyday products they’d otherwise be going without. These little things can actually have a massive impact on someone’s ability to stay well and live a full life”.


Paul Farmer


“We are determined to continually improve our service, working with manufacturers and retailers across the UK to help the growing numbers of charities and their beneficiaries who need the products we provide”.


Robin Boles LVO, CEO of In Kind Direct




About In Kind Direct

    • To date, over 8,000 charities have received products from In Kind Direct, helping them save money on their operational costs, enabling them to spend more on their essential services.
    • 35 Mind branches across the UK have been using In Kind Direct’s services to date.
    • In Kind Direct has made a powerful impact on communities through the redistribution of £150 million worth of surplus goods from over 1,000 companies.
    • In Kind Direct is one of The Prince’s Charities, which is the largest multi-cause charitable enterprise in the UK.

The following contacts are available for interview:

    • Robin Boles, CEO
    • Laura Hales, Head of Charity Partnerships

Additional contacts across the UK at In Kind Direct charity partners are available on request.

Interview footage from both charity and donor partners can also be made available on request.

For any media enquiries or interviews, please contact Thomas, Head of Marketing and Communications: 0300 30 244 or Email thomas@inkinddirect.org

High resolution images to support your story can downloaded from our image gallery

About Mind

        • We’re Mind, the mental health charity. We provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. We campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding. We won't give up until everyone experiencing a mental health problem gets both support and respect. www.mind.org
        • Please note that Mind is not an acronym and should be set in title case.
        • Mind has a confidential information and support line, Mind Infoline, available on 0300 123 3393 (lines open 9am - 6pm, Monday – Friday)
        • Contact Mind’s Media Team for interviews or further information on 0208 522 1743. For out of hours support, call 07850 788 514 or email media@mind.org.uk.
        • For access to a range of free images to accompany mental health news stories please visit: their website. These images have been developed by the anti-stigma campaign Time to Change, run by the charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, and funded by the Department of Health, Comic Relief and the Big Lottery Fund.

Press summary of research

About In Kind Direct’s annual Impact Survey

Founded by the Prince of Wales in 1996, In Kind Direct was created to provide an easy and efficient way for manufacturers and retailers to redistribute their surplus products to UK charities working at home and abroad. The service enables charities to secure essential goods for their operations, deliver new and enhanced services and reduce their need to fundraise. Since foundation, In Kind Direct has distributed £150 million in value of product donated by 1,000 companies to benefit almost 8,000 charities and voluntary groups.

In order to ascertain its impact In Kind Direct regularly visits the charities in its network, carries out telephone research and requests feedback on the service it provides. In Kind Direct also surveys its charity partners annually asking them about the difference receiving products from In Kind Direct makes to their organisations and service users. This year 1,024 charities responded to the survey, a 21% response rate, up from 810 responses and a 13% response rate the previous year.

Key findings

          • The number of charities being asked to supply daily essentials to people in need is rising sharply. Of the 1,024 charities responding to In Kind Direct’s 2016 impact survey, 78% of charities reported using In Kind Direct goods to provide essential support to people struggling to afford basic supplies in 2015. This compares with 55% the previous year.
          • Charities play a key role in promoting health and hygiene among disadvantaged populations. Easy access to donated surplus personal hygiene products from organisations like In Kind Direct enables charities to address the challenge. 80% of responding charities said that using In Kind Direct contributed to improved health and hygiene amongst beneficiaries. 66% said that access to In Kind Direct goods helped to address poor physical and mental well-being and 57% said it helped to reduce isolation amongst beneficiaries.
          • Being given products in times of hardship, in particular high-quality/branded items, can boost an individual’s self-esteem and confidence, and pave the way for recovery. 70% of charities said that ordering goods from In Kind Direct improved the confidence and self-esteem of beneficiaries, up from 68% the previous year.
          • Many charities are facing an increase in demand while their income is remaining constant or decreasing. Savings made on operational expenses such as the cost of household goods to clean and maintain their premises can make a significant difference.

70% of charities reported that, over the 12 months preceding the survey, their incomes had remained the same or decreased while 81% said that demand for their services had increased.

64% charities reported that In Kind Direct had helped them keep going and 87% of charities said that using In Kind Direct enabled them to source goods that they would never be able to afford otherwise.

Many charities would not have been able to offer the same level of support without the savings they made from using In Kind Direct.

Saving money on cleaning supplies for example, can pay for additional holiday scheme places; pay for another carer, or go towards presents and treats for people who would otherwise go without.

For further information please contact Thomas Rattier, Head of Marketing & Communications, 0300 30 20 200, thomas@inkinddirect.org

Sources (1) "Households below a Minimum Income Standard: 2008/09 to 2013/14" by Matt Padley and Donald Hirsch, published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. Available as a free download at www.jrf.org.uk