A project to help provide essential items for children and young people who may not have access to basics, such as toothpaste and soap, has been set up in partnership with the Police and East Cambridgeshire District Council.
The packs of basic toiletries, underwear and other essential care items will be made available through schools, GP services, food banks and other community-based organisations with the help of East Cambridgeshire Community Safety Partnership.
The project was set up after Police noted that some young shoplifters were stealing simply to provide themselves with such basics as underwear, deodorant and personal hygiene items that, for a variety of reasons, were not being provided at home.
Keen to ensure that young people did not end up carrying out criminal behaviour because of poverty or neglect, Crime Reduction Officer for East Cambridgeshire, Sue Loaker, decided to launch “Essentials By Sue.” This would give young people access to care packages of essential daily items so they did not suffer embarrassment or, in the worst case, resort to theft.
The project is supported by funding from the East Cambridgeshire Community Safety Project. Children in need of help will be identified by school, healthcare professionals, social services and other partner agencies and will be able to access these packs discreetly.
Sue Loaker said: “Essentials By Sue is a project that is being launched to protect the dignity and comfort of young ladies and men in East Cambridgeshire. Whilst often a necessity that is easy for many of us to take for granted, there are some that are struggling to get regular access to toiletries, sanitary items and underwear.
“Our fear is that lack of access to the most basic items not only causes discomfort for young people, but can also lead to embarrassment and bullying by their peers that can cause low confidence and a lack of self-esteem. In the worst cases, Police have seen young people resorting to crime in order to get hold of these essentials.”
The project, launching on May 26, will put together and distribute feminine and masculine care packages, toiletries and underwear to young people in need and also aim to support advice about healthy living and personal care.