Wigan charity projects helps 30,000 extra people as families face 'unacceptable financial struggles'

A Wigan charity project set up less than a year ago is supporting almost 80,000 individuals and families across Greater Manchester.
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Homelessness and poverty charity The Brick piloted the Brick-by-Brick Project in December, supported by online retailer Amazon and former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

It aims to help people cope with the cost-of-living crisis by providing items ranging from bedding, toilet roll, cleaning products and toiletries through to clothes and hot water bottles.

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Stock is distributed via charities, social work teams, schools, health centres and food banks.

The Brick-by-Brick teamThe Brick-by-Brick team
The Brick-by-Brick team
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66 pictures of Wigan babies born in 2011

The charity set a target of helping 50,000 people in 2023, but in just 10 months it has supported an extra 30,000 people.

More than 400,000 items have been given to people so far this year and the project has provided goods to more than 52,000 children since it opened.

CEO Keely Dalfen said: “We know that families are facing the most challenging of winters and we are bracing ourselves for further expansion. There are nine million people in the UK living in hygiene poverty and we are hearing from teachers that children are arriving at school with unwashed clothes, or not arriving at all due to embarrassment and stigma.

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“Whilst we are delighted that we have been able to help so many people across Greater Manchester, it is testament to the unacceptable financial struggles that families are facing right now, that we are hitting our original target three months early, as the need for this support is so great.”

More than 290 charities work with the Brick-by-Brick Project to provide items to people who need them.

Alison Wakefield, founder of The Baby Room in Leigh, said: “We have been so grateful to receive adult toiletries and baby-appropriate soft toys. They have made all the difference to our baby essentials bundles, ensuring that our new parents receive basic toiletries. This reduces the fear of not having the money to afford these items and alleviates the feeling of not being able to provide for their babies.”

Sarah Jones – not her real name – said: “I am very thankful for the donations from The Brick. Even though we are two working parents, the cost of living has increased so much that we have to be a lot more careful with money. Receiving household products has been one less thing on our shopping list.”

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More than 15 firms have supported the project by donating surplus stock so far.

Ms Dalfen said: “We couldn’t do what we do without the support of the businesses who work with us to provide these surplus items. We want to thank every business who has joined our fight against poverty and especially, to Amazon for their long-term commitment to this project. I would ask that if any businesses could work with us to donate items, get in touch, as the demand for products supplied by our Brick-by-Brick Project is increasing daily.”

Businesses can email [email protected], while charities, schools or professionals supporting people in Greater Manchester can find out more by emailing [email protected].

Anyone in need of support, who is facing financial difficulty or in crisis, can contact [email protected] or go to www.thebrick.org.uk.