A Derry councillor has suggested a Christmas ‘beauty bank’ to which people could donate lipstick and make-up could significantly boost the self-esteem of young women in the city.
Sinn Féin’s Sandra Duffy, who works with the homeless at First Housing, has asked people to consider donating cosmetic and hygiene products this Christmas alongside their generous donations to food and toy banks.
“I work with a lot of young people aged 16 to 25 who are homeless and while we are really grateful to be getting the food packs in, to be getting toys in for children, there’s another bit of this that I think we could be looking at that ties in with the issue of ‘period poverty’ that I have been working on for quite some time now,” said Colr. Duffy.
“I’ve been contacted by a beautician in the city who has seen this being done in other cities and thought it might be a good idea.
“It’s around maybe a ‘beauty bank’ to come up with a ‘comfort package’ for people,” she added.
Colr. Duffy explained that she knows that many young mothers in the city selflessly struggle to provide food, housing, heating and Christmas presents for their children at this time of year and that in the overwhelming majority of cases they always put their own well-being last.
A ‘beauty bank’, she suggested, would allow people to make small gestures that would make big differences to people’s lives.
“We would have a lot of young girls come in to our service who are struggling to put food on the table, who are struggling to pay the rent, who are struggling with a lot of issues,” she observed.
“So having a wee bit of lipstick, having a moisturiser, having a nice hand cream, are things that are luxurious to them, things that they can’t afford, but these are all things that contribute to people’s emotional and mental well-being.
“It’s not an essential item but at the end of the day people do need to feel good about themselves.”