- Mike Calderbank
Sneak a peek - Women's Bags
Sneak a peek inside our Bare Necessities Women’s Bags…
Q: What’s inside?
A; Every bag we make up always has, what we consider to be the basics; the things we’d all like to find in our bathroom day-in, day-out; shampoo and conditioner, shower gel and soap, deodorant, toothbrush and toothpaste, sanitary products, a hairbrush and that magic pot of Vaseline lip balm, (so many uses, chapped skin, lips, sore heels you name it!), face cream and body lotion plus nail clippers, a flannel/body mop and, since Covid, hand sanitiser.
Q: Some people might say that conditioner and body lotion are luxuries not essentials?
A: Yes and no… many of the women at the charities and organisations we support may have fled their domestic circumstances, leaving with just the clothes they have on; our packs are their first encounter in months, and, sometimes, ever, with one or two feel-good products which go above and beyond the bare minimum. Some of the women routinely go without so their families can eat, our packs are alleviating hygiene poverty but also helping to mend damaged self-esteem and mental health
Q: Where do the bags come from?
A: Most of our women’s bags have been hand-sewed for us by our local WI, (Fulshaw WI), they are made with love by someone who shows they care by providing us with beautiful bags made from lovely fabrics. They are made to size and really are bespoke to our needs which means that what’s inside can be perfectly accommodated and handed to a woman in a re-usable bag, ideal for being topped up as she becomes more established.
Q; I Hear you make up bags of hotel minis, what are they for? Holidays?
A: Imagine!! We re-purpose those pesky bathroom-cloggers, the minis we all repatriate from various trips and make up our women’s pamper packs. These are generally sent to Smartworks who give them out to their clients for a pre-interview pamper session because they know that if your hair and skin look good, you’re on your way to interview success. The more workaday items go into our street homeless five days of dignity bags and you can find out more about those in another of our ‘Sneak a peek’ articles.
Q: Which charities get your women’s bags?
A: We work with Manchester Women’s Aid, Stockport Without Abuse, Stockport Women’s Centre. the Greater Manchester Women’s Support Alliance, Edge 360, The Pankhurst Trust and Smartworks Greater Manchester.
SMART WORKS GREATER MANCHESTER
‘We had some great feedback about the goodie bags I thought you would like to hear – ‘
“The lovely gifts at the bottom of the bag were an exceptional touch, it’s been a long time since I’ve treated myself so was overwhelmed with the attention to detail.”
‘Thanks as always, they’re a such a special touch to our clients’ experience’
From a client of Manchester Women’s Aid
“…the Police took me to a Manchester Women’s Aid refuge who gave me a self-contained flat. In there was food and a gorgeous toiletry bag.
That afternoon I spent 2 hours showering, moisturising and pampering myself with all the luxury products that were in the bag.
From that afternoon I grew in confidence and am now able to see a future, you have no idea how that bag changed my life “