Generous Cumbrians have donated more than £5,000 worth of beauty products and toiletries for women who are escaping domestic violence.
The ‘Regifting Beauty’ appeal was launched by Carlisle salon VL Aesthetics at the start of January and has resulted in 24 boxes packed full of beauty essentials and luxuries.
They will be given to west Cumbria domestic violence support group Freedom Project as well as to Carlisle Food Bank.
Vicky Pike, project manager at Freedom Project said: ‘I want to thank everyone who organised the campaign, and every person who has donated.
‘We are completely blown away and I know that the ladies and young women we support will hugely appreciate your kindness.’
Vanessa Brown, MD of VL Aesthetics, said she was amazed by the response to the appeal which ran for a month with donation boxes in local businesses including Wragg Mark-Bell solicitors, and Verve salon in Carlisle, Paragon vets in Dalston and Runway hairdressers in Brampton,
‘We were having strangers who we have never met before coming to us with bags of stuff – people were just walking through the door,’ said Vanessa.
‘I actually couldn’t believe it – I almost ran out of boxes at one point. Around 10 businesses took part, and Kirkbampton Village Hall brought us two boxes full, donated by the mother and toddler groups.
‘We have everything from perfumes to shower gels, toothpaste and brushes, cosmetics and skincare, quality brands like Ted Baker gift boxes, false eyelashes, bath salts, hair dye – lots of nice things that we didn’t even think of.’
Vanessa says she was inspired to launch the appeal after doing some previous work with Freedom Project.
Vicky Pike says Freedom Project supports 400 people a year.
‘We help victims and children move on from the trauma of abuse. Financial concerns are one of the major barriers that prevent victims from leaving an abusive relationship,’ she said.
‘When they do feel brave enough to escape, their main concern is food and shelter, and the little money they have will go towards this.
‘Gifting them the donated toiletries takes one less stress away and frees up their money to go towards vital costs.
‘It won’t only be monetary benefits for a victim – receiving the toiletries will allow them to take better care of themselves and help restore their self-esteem and confidence too.’
Helen Barnes, co-owner of Verve salon in Carlisle said: ‘We were really happy to have a Regifting Beauty box here.
‘We put a lot of products in that we hadn’t sold, and clients were bringing things in. We even had another client coming in with donations after the box was collected. It’s been a great response.’