Project that helps people with everyday essentials in Huntingdonshire expanded

Councillor Costello at the launch of Essentials by Sue in Ramsey

Councillor Costello at the launch of Essentials by Sue in Ramsey - Credit: Archant

A project that provides essential items for people struggling to make ends meet has been launched in Ramsey, following the success of a pilot in Huntingdon.

The deputy mayor of Ramsey, Councillor Adela Costello, Huntingdonshire district councillor Angie Dickinson and Alison Preece, youth and community co-ordinator for Cambridgeshire County Council, set up the project to allow people across the district to gain access to toiletries and other small items.

The project was piloted in Huntingdon in September and proved such a success that moves were made to work with community groups in Ramsey to provide the same service in the town.

Cllr Costello launched the event on January 28 at Ramsey library, with guest speaker Sue Loaker, the founder of the project, explaining the reason behind the scheme.

Through the combined efforts of a working party, Ramsey Neighbourhood Trust, Ramsey Million, library staff and volunteers, youth workers and Abbey College, the free service is now based at Ramsey Library.

‘Essentials by Sue’ was founded in 2016 by Cambridgeshire crime reduction officer Sue Loaker, after two 12-year-old girls were caught shoplifting toiletries in Ely.

Mrs Loaker recognised the issue could be addressed by providing a foodbank-like facility for items such as sanitary products, shampoo, and other toiletries. The project was launched in Huntingdon in September, with the essentials being available at Huntingdon Youth Centre and the Medway Centre.

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Toothbrushes, shower gel, deodorant, shampoo and sanitary towels are among the items that will be provided by volunteers for members of the community who may otherwise struggle to pay for essentials.

Cllr Costello said: “Donations of these essential articles are requested and stored at the library and then young people can collect them in a discreet and confidential manner.

“Anyone who wants to use the service can drop in, and write down the items they would like and the team will endeavour to provide them.

“The service is run by volunteers and is always looking for people to get involved.”

Visit Ramsey Library, in Great Whyte, to find out more about the initiative.