Many UK families find it tough to afford a standard of living
by Sangeeta Haindl — The Prince’s Charity In Kind Direct, an organisation dedicated to redistributing donated goods to thousands of charities across the UK, is reporting a sharp increase in helping people cope with destitution. Its latest annual impact survey shows that the number of charities in its network being asked to give out essentials such as toothpaste, shampoo and nappies to people struggling has risen sharply, year on year. Crucially, 64 percent of charities report that In Kind Direct has helped them keep going.
Sadly, more and more people are asking their local charities for help that goes above and beyond what the organisation was set up to do. Older people’s support groups are being asked to provide users with toothbrushes and washing up liquid while youth clubs are being asked to provide young people with clothing and basic personal hygiene goods. 78 percent of the 1,024 charities and not-for-profit organisations responding to In Kind Direct’s survey reported that they provided products to people struggling to afford basic supplies in 2015, which is a 23 percent increase on last year.
Increased demands on this sector to deliver services not immediately connected to their core mission suggests that despite record employment, many people in the UK are still finding it tough to afford a basic standard of living which others would take for granted. 81 percent of the respondents to this report said that demand for their services had increased in the last 12 months, whilst 70 percent stated that their income had remained the same or decreased. These findings are further supported by recent research from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, which found 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 staggering 45 per cent increase on 2008/1991.
Charities play a key role in promoting health and hygiene among disadvantaged populations, as some UK families are surviving on very little income, having to choose between buying food or washing powder. Thankfully, 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, as 80 percent of responding charities said that using In Kind Direct contributed to improved health and hygiene amongst their beneficiaries; 66 percent said that access to these goods helped to address poor physical and mental well-being and 57 percent said it helped to reduce isolation amongst receivers.
Being given products in times of hardship, particularly high-quality and branded items, can boost an individual’s self-esteem and confidence, paving the way for recovery. A whopping 87% of charities said that using In Kind Direct enabled them to source goods that they would never be able to afford, which would be regarded as presents and treats for people who would otherwise go without.
Photo Credit: In Kind Direct