Extraordinary People

The remarkable way an old trailer from Gumtree is helping the homeless

Free showers are giving rough sleepers sense of pride

There is nothing like stepping into the shower to kickstart your day, feeling that burst of warm water rain down on your skin.

This basic privilege is something that homeless people are deprived of, with thousands of rough sleepers often going months without maintaining personal hygiene.

Not only does this compromise their physical health and the spread of disease, but also their mental wellbeing which exacerbates feelings of inadequacy and hopelessness.

[Credit: ShowerBox]

Yet one woman is on a mission to give people without housing their dignity back with a simple yet powerful idea – offering them a shower.

Through working as a volunteer for various homeless organisations, Sarah Lamptey saw first-hand the human need to feel good and lead a safe life regardless of circumstances.

She began brainstorming and ShowerBox was born, buying an old trailer from Gumtree and fitting it with two showers and changing rooms for people who live on the streets to use.

Speaking about her journey, Sarah revealed she was spurred on after meeting Andrew McLeay who runs the Ealing Soup Kitchen and has previously experience homelessness himself.

Sarah said: “He told me that he’d known of individuals who had passed away from preventable illnesses on the streets, simply because of an inability to get clean.”

[Credit: Unsplash]

Tapping into her flair for fundraising, Sarah used the cash to buy her trailer which has since serviced shelters across London and is now located at St Giles Church, by Tottenham Court Road.

Sarah and her dream team of volunteers offer free showers and toiletries to around 25 guests each session for homeless people to stay connected, maintain good hygiene and build confidence.

Her philanthropy work is only just beginning though.

Sarah has also received a £15,000 solar power donation and is now exploring ways to install showers in permanent locations across the capital and build a magical wellbeing garden too.

[Credit: ShowerBox]

Sarah added: “Being clean and warm can help create a feeling of confidence and motivation, feelings essential for creating positive change.

“Many homeless people experience low self-esteem and a loss of ability to care for oneself.”

She explained that those sleeping rough become institutionalised to the street and despite the majority of them wanting to work, only 10% do often due to the stigma of poor hygiene.

By providing a place to wash, ShowerBox also helps the NHS by stopping the spread of preventable diseases which costs the healthcare system millions of pounds each year.

Sarah concluded: “41% of homeless people reported a long-term physical health problem compared to just 28% of the general population, many of these such as stomach problems, skin infections and urinary problems could be prevented with access to regular showers.”

To support Sarah’s incredible work, click here: ShowerBox.

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