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New research shows significant increases in UK families struggling to afford basics… and it’s not just food

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The economy in 2014 may be recovering, but struggling families are increasingly turning to charities for everyday essentials.

Over half of charities in the In Kind Direct network are giving out supplies to those who cannot afford them, and 30% have seen an increase in the demand for basic household provisions recent research has shown.

Families, the elderly and disabled in particular, are turning to a wide range of charities for help, as increasing numbers of British households struggle to afford basic living necessities.

A new survey conducted by In Kind Direct, shows that over half of charity respondents are giving out essential supplies to those struggling to afford them. This is often before the charity is able to fulfil its specific charitable purpose, so great is the need for basic essentials in the poorest communities.

Feedback from charities suggests many vulnerable families, especially those with young children or caring for elderly or disabled relatives, could suffer the adverse health consequences of a decline in personal hygiene as a result of not being able to afford even basic household and personal care products.

In Kind Direct reports the basic five items in highest demand are; toilet rolls, nappies, laundry products, household cleaning liquid/spray and shampoo/shower gel. These everyday items are essential to maintain even the most basic standard of living.

This growing desperation for basic items is driving many communities to depend on local charities they would never have contemplated using before.

Jill Tatman, Centre Manager at YMCA in Llandovery for example, says:

“We have certainly seen an increase in demand for the everyday essentials that we are able to obtain from In Kind Direct. The issues for people in this area are low incomes and cuts to benefits, alongside a lack of job opportunities with the cost of living rising and rising. This leads to isolation and a hidden depravation that most people visiting the area wouldn’t notice. Products from In Kind Direct make a big difference to some of our clients who are in quite desperate need.”

The survey findings corroborate research released by The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (Jan 2014), which showed that 4.7million households are living on incomes below the level needed for an adequate standard of living (1).

Many charities, by their very nature, are operating with vulnerable groups, however the reality of their experience on the ground, is one of a widening gap between those who are beginning to experience the economy recovering and those who are being left behind.

In Shoeburyness, Essex, for example, the SHARE Food bank provides much needed support to a wide range of low income households in the community who are struggling every day to survive. Elizabeth Stoner, Chaplaincy Leader, explains:

“The people we are helping are mainly young families who are struggling on low incomes. Without In Kind Direct we would struggle to provide the 100+ families we have on our books with basic household supplies and food.”

Not being able to afford shampoo or nappies for their baby is a deprivation the majority of the British public could not and would not ever want to imagine. For a substantial minority in the UK everyday however, this is sadly a reality, and why In Kind Direct, relies on critical support from some of the UK's largest personal care suppliers and brands.

In Kind Direct CEO, Robin Boles states:

“The need for support from national brands has never been greater and it is inspiring to see what our partner charities are achieving with the goods donated by companies such as Kimberly-Clark, Amazon, Procter & Gamble, Reckitt Benckiser and Colgate Palmolive. Our core message to British companies is: We need more of your products! We have successfully supplied 6,600+ organisations with donated healthcare goods and we can distribute donated stock ,quickly, safely, efficiently and with full traceability.”

P&G, one of In Kind Direct's major corporate donors, is proud of its involvement with In Kind Direct, making generous donations. This ensures charities are able to continue to provide essential home and healthcare products, which profoundly benefit struggling communities.

Irwin Lee, Vice President & Managing Director, P&G UK & Ireland explains:

“Through our partnership with In Kind Direct we are able to reach thousands of charities and not for profit organisations across the UK with donations of high quality P&G brands. UK charities are responsible for amazing work tackling disadvantage and addressing social needs in this country and abroad. It is a source of great pride for our company and our employees that we are able to support this with our products. By donating essential brands such as Pampers, Ariel, and Fairy, we can help transform communities that need most assistance.”


Please contact Julie Kemp or Rachel Butler, Marketing and Communications team, In Kind Direct for further information: julie@inkinddirect.org rachel@inkinddirect.org or call 020 7398 5510.

The following contacts are also available for interview: In Kind Direct: Robin Boles, CEO and Laura Hales, Head of Charity Partnerships – 020 7398 5510 Additional contacts across the UK at In Kind Direct charity partners are available on request. Please phone In Kind Direct to discuss.

  • The survey was conducted in July 2013 and was sent out to 5,011 charities registered with In Kind Direct. The survey achieved 601 responses and the main results were: - Relieving hardship: 56% of charities are giving out essentials to those struggling to afford basic supplies. Of these 30% have seen an increase in demand for basic provisions over the last year. - Saving money: 76% either agreed or strongly agreed that ordering goods from In Kind Direct enabled them to source goods they would never be able to afford otherwise. 51% of charities reported that ordering goods from In Kind Direct had enabled their charity to keep going. - Improving and extending services: 47% either agreed or strongly agreed that ordering goods from In Kind Direct enabled them to deliver new or different activities. 29% agreed or strongly agreed that the goods and supplies available from In Kind Direct enabled them to engage people they would not normally be able to engage. - 35% of respondents work with families, children, young people, the elderly or disabled.
  • In Kind Direct re-distributes usable products donated by some of the UK’s best known FMCG companies to charities working in the UK and abroad.
  • To date, over 6,600 charities have received re-distributed products from In Kind Direct, helping them save money on their operational costs and allowing them to spend more on their essential services.
  • In Kind Direct has made a powerful impact on communities through the redistribution of £130 million worth of surplus goods from more than 925 companies.
  • In Kind Direct relies on securing donations of stock from UK manufacturers and retailers, as well as organisations and individuals providing funding, to make its work possible.
  • Charities, not-for-profit organisations, social enterprises and community groups can all register for free via the website www.inkinddirect.org to benefit from the service.
  • In Kind Direct is one of The Prince’s Charities, which is the largest multi-cause charitable enterprise in the UK.
  • External sources: 1. Joseph Rowntree Foundation: http://www.jrf.org.uk/media-centre/households-on-inadequate-incomes-increases