Isabel Dosser is a lecturer at Edinburgh Napier University on the Nursing Programmes. At QNIS, we like to think our conference themes and messages can have a positive effect on delegates, and in Isabel’s case, that is definitely true, as Isabel discusses the charity that began life as an idea from within our conference.
Before I became a lecturer, I worked as a palliative care nurse specialist with the NHS, Macmillan Cancer Support and Marie Curie.
In 2018, I represented the university at the QNIS conference and discussed the programme I lead with nurses at the conference. I also attended the workshop on poverty as I wanted to update my knowledge on benefits and particularly Universal Credit. It was, as I suspected, a sad situation for many that applied for these benefits and I came away feeling strongly that is was time to give back. I have had a wonderful career as a nurse and then lecturer but as I move towards retirement, I wanted to do something different. I came up with the idea of Dignity Boxes.
I sounded out a few people, in particular the leadership team in the university where I am employed and was delighted, they agreed to support the launch of my idea. This led to quickly applying for registration on the charity register as it became clear there was a gap that was now being filled and popular.
Dignity Boxes (SC048930) is a new charity which started in September last year that collects basic toiletries from people and companies in the community across Edinburgh and the Lothians. These toiletries are then checked, counted and redistributed 20 to a box in what is called a “Dignity Box”.
The boxes are placed strategically so that people in need do not need to ask or thank anyone if they need a product in an effort to maintain and promote their dignity for that moment in time. Products such as shampoo, shower gel, deodorant, toothpaste are included. Can you imagine a week or more without having shampoo to wash your hair or shower gel /soap to wash? Unfortunately, there are people who do have to make hard choices and Foodbanks do not stock many toiletries as in the main, food is donated.
We currently distribute 12 Dignity boxes to organisations who work with people living in poverty or areas of deprivation. The organisations listed below are specifically chosen, and diverse, in order to reach the right people. Example of places in Edinburgh that hold a Dignity Box include
- The Willow
- Social Bite
- Street Soccer
- Student box
- Access Practice
- The Welcoming
and in West Lothian
- Daisy Drop in
- The Dale in Armadale
- Broxburn Family Centre
- Youth action project
- Bathgate Partnership Centre
- Women’s aid
More information on these can be found on their websites.
The boxes are refilled on a monthly basis. Currently we are recruiting volunteers for various roles to help us extend our reach even more across regions and organisations. Dignity Boxes are part of the Council anti-poverty strategy in West Lothian and hopes to become more involved across Edinburgh City. You can like and find us on Facebook and Google for previous media cover.
If anyone knows of a company or group who may want to donate products or fundraise please get in touch. Many of the patients you visit may benefit if they visit any of the organisations we work with and there are many more would like to receive a dignity box, but we must sustain those involved currently which equates to 260 products a month (one box is filled twice a month). You don’t have to pay more than a pound for a product if you wish to donate. By the end of this summer we will have our own identity, bespoke box and website which will hold all the information people need to know to become involved. Exciting times.
Toiletries, that’s all, a simple idea but little things can make a big difference. Please help us make a kinder world.
You can contact Isabel at firstname.lastname@example.org until August 2019.