Millions of people need hygiene essentials this Christmas, charity research shows

This festive period is expected to see a sharp increase in people unable to afford hygiene essentials making the real Christmas list of must-haves for millions of people, anything from deodorant to nappies, not the latest smart home device, games console or luxury handbag.

In Kind Direct works with over 4,500 charitable organisations such as charities, community groups, foodbanks and schools across the UK, distributing a wide range of products from donating organisations. Over 75%* of respondents to their Q3 survey indicated that toiletries, personal hygiene and household cleaning products are the most needed as we approach the end of the year.


2021 Real Christmas Must Haves:

  1. Toilet roll
  2. Nappies
  3. Anti bac/surface cleaner
  4. Washing powder
  5. Deodorant
  6. Shampoo
  7. Shower products
  8. Period products
  9. Toothbrushes & Toothpaste
  10. Hand Wash & Liquid Soap


In the final months of 2020, In Kind Direct distributed almost three million of the Real Christmas Must Have products to UK charitable organisations** (11 million of these products were donated throughout 2020 to over 3,000 charities). This year the demand is predicted to be significantly higher as the Furlough scheme ends, household food and energy bills rise and a £20 Universal Credit cut takes effect.

This is echoed by In Kind Direct’s charitable network of which 81%* said demand for their services has increased and 85%* said people they support are struggling more financially in recent months. The continually increasing need for access to life’s essentials is more important than ever with Joseph Rowntree Foundation estimating that 500,000*** more people will be pushed into poverty this winter.

In Kind Direct are urgently appealing for donations of these Real Christmas Must Haves from retailers, manufacturers, and brands, so more families don’t have to make the decision to eat, heat or be clean this winter.

Rosanne Gray, In Kind Direct CEO comments“With the help of our corporate partners we will be distributing the essential items that people need, but we are urgently calling on more businesses to donate products and be a lifeline for people, especially at this time of year. Whilst the festive season should be associated with joy, togetherness and fun, the end of the year is a challenging time for many people.”

Service user at the Magdalene Ministry in Kent and Medway

‘’Living on a very low income with two children means choosing our basic needs. The most important need to us is food. Thanks to Magdalene Ministry [and the products they provide from In Kind Direct] my children don’t have to share the same toothbrushes and we have enough body wash & shampoo for all of us. Having access to these products when we need them, really helps improve our physical & mental wellbeing. My children feel much happier going to school knowing they have a clean uniform & personal hygiene products that keeps them clean. No longer do the other children call my children smelly.’’

 Jim Deans, founder of Sussex Homeless Support, regularly uses products from In Kind Direct such as Gillette to keep their service running. He comments: “Having access to quality products makes all the difference to us and the homeless men we support – we are working daily with vulnerable people in society, trying to keep them alive and in good physical and mental condition. Just having a shower, shave and putting on clean clothes could be considered therapy, as it really does have an amazing effect on them. Without access to products such as Gillette shaving products from In Kind Direct we really would not be able to provide the service we do – we would highly recommend other organisations registering with In Kind Direct so they can achieve more impact”

We need your support now, more than ever.

Are you a retailer, manufacturer or brand and have products to donate?

Contact: with what products and volume you have available.

If you are a charitable organisation needing products, you can register for free via:​

Do you know a company who has products to donate or a local charity who would benefit from these products? Share our details on how to donate or sign up for free to access products.

In Kind Direct is a UK charity who believe everyone deserves access to life’s essentials and that no usable product should go to waste. Founded by HRH in 1996, In Kind Direct works with thousands of charitable organisations across the UK, providing them with product donations based on insight. They exist to enable more communities to thrive.