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Homerton cinema becomes donation point for unused toiletries to help tackle hygiene poverty

Pillow Cinema's Asher Charman and Danielle Swift
Castle Cinema founders Asher Charman and Danielle Swift. Photograph: Pillow Cinema

A Homerton cinema is now the first donation point in Hackney for a national hygiene poverty campaign – thanks to the efforts of a local resident.

The Castle Cinema on Chatsworth Road is collecting unused toiletries such as toothbrushes, shampoos, deodorants and sanitary pads for Beauty Banks, a grassroots movement which then distributes the items to charities across the UK.

The partnership, which sees the cinema become a ‘Beauty Spot’, was set up by Hackney resident Eve Riley, who told the Citizen: “I heard about the Beauty Banks initiative and I thought it was a brilliant idea.

“I looked into it further and discovered that there are no donation points in Hackney, so thought I’d try to set one up.”

Riley said she chose to partner with Castle Cinema because it is independent, but added: “It was also a practical decision – I wanted to find somewhere safe and accessible that is open for long hours so that people could drop-off at pretty much any time of the day or night.” 

Drop-offs can be made seven days a week from 11am until 11pm.

Eve Riley has created a poster to raise awareness for the local Beauty Banks campaign

Beauty Banks says more male than female products are needed, since 70 per cent of the homeless population are men. 

But Riley is encouraging people to bring anything they can.

She said: “As long as products are unopened – we cannot accept even lightly used products – people are free to donate whatever they like. 

“For example, something less essential in terms of personal hygiene like lipstick or mascara might make all the difference to a woman in a refuge.

“I guess people can donate what they think they might like to receive if they were in a similar situation.”

Hackney has the seventh highest number of homeless people in the UK, according to housing charity Shelter’s most recent report, which also found that one in 36 people in the borough are living in temporary accommodation or sleeping rough.

To donate, take your unopened toiletries to Castle Cinema, First floor, 64-66 Brooksby’s Walk, E9 6DA between 11am and 11pm.

For more information about Beauty Banks, head to

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