Edinburgh Napier launches Dignity Box campaign

Free basic toiletries to be made available to people in areas across Lothian experiencing social deprivation

Date posted

24 September 2018


Last updated

19 March 2020

A campaign being spearheaded by an Edinburgh Napier lecturer will see free toiletries made available to those who need them most across the Lothian region. 

The initiative called ‘Dignity Boxes’ is the brainchild of Isabel Dosser, a lecturer in palliative care within the University’s School of Health and Social Care. The boxes will be placed in specific areas throughout the region and will offer a range of toiletries including shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, soap and shower gel to those in need. 

The first box has been made available at leading homeless charity Social Bite’s Shandwick Place shop. 

Present every second Tuesday during its Social Suppers initiative – which supplies hot food and meals to the homeless – attendees will be able to take what they cannot afford by getting access to the products in the Dignity Box, without having to ask or thank anyone. 

Further boxes have been earmarked for a number of locations across the region in the coming weeks, including a student box at Edinburgh Napier, the Street Soccer project based in Portobello, The Willow project on Lauriston Place as well as Daisy drop-in, and the Dale in West Lothian. 

For Isabel, the campaign is a chance to give something back to those less fortunate than herself. 

She said: “The idea really stems from my time at a nursing conference last year. Working in nursing all my life, I’ve always been aware of the benefits and welfare available to people but after attending workshops in poverty at the conference, I soon began to think about ways I could help others. 

“After learning about a voluntary service (COPE) in Glasgow that provides advice and free sanitary products, I came up with the idea of the Dignity Box – a selection of free basic toiletries that will be placed in areas across Lothian experiencing deprivation. 

“I’m a firm believer that little things make a big difference. The aim of the Dignity Box is to promote in a small way, self-worth and dignity by allowing those in need to take what they cannot afford or get access to without having to ask or thank anyone. 

“We are very grateful to Social Bite for allowing us to install the first box in its Shandwick premises and I’m also grateful to the University for agreeing to be the first sponsor of what I hope will be a sustainable initiative that will expand in future. I would also like to thank friends, family, students and colleagues at Edinburgh Napier who have kindly donated items to allow me to get the campaign up and running. 

“We’re appealing to anyone who can donate items to the box, or host a donation box in their own workplace, to come forward – together we can all make a difference to the lives of others.”

Dignity Boxes...

Barbara Haig, senior social impact team at Social Bite, said: “We were delighted Isabel would consider Social Bite for this initiative. This contribution helps our rough sleeping and homeless group who might not otherwise be in a position to purchase these essential items. Isabel also dedicated her time proactively to volunteer which was a very kind gesture.

“The impact, however small or large, is something Social Bite is proud to highlight. We are grateful for the dignified actions Isabel showed born from a need to ‘give back’. Through the kind actions Isabel has shown we hope this can inspire others to be more cause driven.”

How can you get involved?

The campaign is asking for donations of the following:
  • Shampoo/conditioner 
  • Shower gel, soap 
  • Shaving foam
  • Deodorant 
  • Toothpaste and toothbrushes
These can be donated at the iPoint receptions at any of Edinburgh Napier’s campuses – Merchiston, Craiglockhart and Sighthill - or can be organised direct with Isabel at i.dosser@napier.ac.uk

Companies and local businesses can also request their own donation box for use or discuss sponsoring a box in one area for a specific period.

Personal Design Studio – a hairdresser in Mid Calder - is among the first businesses to pledge support in taking its own donation box for the campaign.