A kind-hearted student is appealing for help as she bids to set up a 'beauty bank' for people in need.
Lauren Robinson, 20, from Boldon, wants to offer toiletries, sanitary towels and basic cosmetics for those who are struggling to maintain basic cleanliness and hygiene in the face of austerity.
The University of Sunderland student has worked in the past with homeless people at foodbanks.
She feels there is also a real need to help those who are struggling to simply stay clean.
Lauren, who is a second year BA journalism student, said: "We all now know how important foodbanks have become in feeding people and families who are fighting to get by.
“The idea of the beauty bank is to offer toiletries, even if it’s just the basics, which will help people stay clean.
“There’s a real need for this, yet it has somehow gone unnoticed for a long time.
“What it’s about is creating confidence.
“Not having access to basic toiletries can have such an impact if you’re going for a job interview.
“Little things, like putting on a bit of make-up can make a big difference.”
Lauren is confident that this is an issue which can be tackled successfully.
She added: "It’s such an easy problem to solve.
“Let’s face it, we all get lots of toiletries, make-up and similar bits-and-bobs for Christmas or birthdays, and most of the time these get pushed to the back of the cabinet and forgotten about.
“All we’re asking is that people instead donate these items to us and we will make sure they reach those most in need.”
Lauren is hoping the beauty bank will be accessible to people across the North East, including Sunderland and Newcastle.
She is planning to work with a charity to begin distributing the items in city centres.
She said: “We just want to get the word out there.
"So far the response has been really positive and we’ve had make-up starting to come in.
“But we also need things like shampoos and men’s toiletries.”
Alistair Robinson, programme leader for BA (Hons) Journalism at the University of Sunderland, said: “It’s great to see a journalism student not only identifying problems and reporting on them, but actually doing something about them."
Donations can be dropped into the MediaHUB at the David Puttnam Media Centre at the university's St Peter’s Campus or by contacting Lauren by email at firstname.lastname@example.org