The ability to clean, to wash the day off yourself, is something many of us are likely to take for granted.
With a history of volunteering with homelessness charities Shelter and Crisis, Sarah learned how much of an impact a lack of access to shower facilities can have on disease and on self-esteem. It pushed her to launch ShowerBox, her own initiative to help homeless people stay clean and safe even if they can’t access a day centre.
She says: “Being clean is such a restorative force. Having a shower, even washing just a couple of days of grime off you, can impact you mentally and change how you feel about yourself. And it’s been shown that you make better choices when you feel good about yourself.”
Sarah crowdfunded money so she could buy a trailer and fix it up before it serviced a shelter on Tottenham Court Road. Its next stop was at a Street’s Kitchen shelter in Hornsey, providing just a little relief for London’s homeless population.
Now, thanks to so many amazing donations, along with wonderful volunteers, Sarah runs a converted shower trailer every Saturday from St Giles Church, London, and 30-35 individuals come to them for showers each session, with twice as many for wellbeing donations.
Now ShowerBox have explored and identified the need for showers in Birmingham, and working alongside existing homeless organisations already doing great work in the area, plan to run showers from a converted van, in 2022.
Our funds will go towards making this happen, helping ShowerBox to buy and convert the van, and take it to the streets.
Find out more about ShowerBox here: showerbox.org
Thank you so much for choosing ShowerBox as a Grants for Good finalist! People always say to me when they hear about the project, how they’d never thought about how they would feel if they didn’t have access to a shower. How out of control they’d feel, how much stigma they imagine they’d receive and how uncomfortable life would be on top of the harshest of challenges of living on the streets. This is the feedback we receive each week from our guests and we work to support as many people as possible in their self-care as we can.
Sarah’s passion for this project is obvious. Of course, she would love there not to be a need for Showerbox, but while there is, she sees this as a practical way to help. As well as providing a shower, toiletries and new underwear, Showerbox has created a community, both for the users of the service and its volunteers that helps those who are homeless maintain good personal hygiene, build confidence, increase motivation and stop the spread of preventable diseases. Despite its modest income, ShowerBox is making a huge impact thanks to its team of volunteers, so much so, Sarah was named as one of The Big Issue’s Top 100 Changemakers in 2019 and recently received a Points of Light Award from the Prime Minister.
Latest Project Updates
After becoming one of the top five finalists in the latest Grants for Good Round, £2,500 was granted.