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Addressing hygiene poverty in the local area

A team of volunteers are leading the way in addressing hygiene poverty here in Launceston, by launching a Hygiene Bank to serve the town and surrounding villages.

Michelle Rutter from Bridge Church in Launceston is the person steering this important project, having worked with the Hygiene Bank - a national charity - in London, where she was living previously. She told Launceston Life: “It is similar to a food bank, with different organisations taking it on in their communities by launching their own. At Bridge Church, we wanted to do something to help anyone experiencing hygiene poverty.”

Having known about the Hygiene Bank yet not able to find one close to Launceston, Michelle felt it right for the Church to serve the community in this way and open one locally. The Hygiene Bank will run three times a week, on a Monday, Thursday and Friday from 11.30am to 1pm at Bridge Church, with a trained group of volunteers on hand to assist. With no referral necessary, anyone struggling to afford hygiene products can approach the Hygiene Bank.

Michelle said: “Unfortunately, there is often a lot of shame involved in going to places like this that can help. If you’re on a low income, it can be a struggle to afford these items. You don’t need a referral to come to the Hygiene Bank however, you can just drop in and ask for what you need. We hope coming in to Bridge Church will feel like a safe space for people. They can get a coffee, have a chat or just come in to get some support with accessing hygiene and sanitary products. Everyone is welcome. The Hygiene Bank will be discreet, but we don’t want to hide it - we want everyone to feel proud of this facility and comfortable enough to come and ask for help.”

Michelle has also established donation drop-off points in various areas of town, including Boots the Chemist and The Orchard Centre. She added: “Being in a community is very much about building long term relationships with other agencies and working closely together.”

If you would like some support, have any questions about Launceston Hygiene Bank, or would like to donate some items, email


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