A Cliftonville laundrette is donating tokens to a number of schools and groups so families struggling with living costs can do their washing for free.
The team at Margate 360 Laundromat, at 80 Harold Road, aim to make sure children can go to school with clean clothes, whatever their circumstances.
According to The Hygiene Bank charity one-third of people living in the UK and half of 18 to 24 year olds have had to go without hygiene or grooming essentials or cut down on them due to lack of funds.
The charity says eight in 10 primary school teachers say that they’ve seen a rise in the numbers of children coming to school unwashed or not looking presentable in the last five years and have found themselves intervening at an increasing rate. Nearly half of all teachers said they had seen bullying because of hygiene issues.
Margate 360 owner Aaron Rampling, 31, has been offering the free wash tokens since he opened the doors of the laundrette in 2020 and says he just wanted to make a positive impact in his hometown.
Aaron works in property development and has funded the community laundrette through his job and, more recently, with its expansion into service washes for hotels and B&Bs and other local businesses.
He said: “We have been doing (the tokens) since we opened. It’s a big issue. People do not always have the resources or the money and there is no accountability. Schools give the tokens to families or individuals who might be going to school in dirty clothes or have dirty PE kits. There is a washer and dryer token and then there is accountability because the clothes can be washed and dried.
“I’ve lived in Thanet all my life. I know there are a huge amount of properties that are cramped so there isn’t a place for people to do their washing. I know a lot of people struggle. We have children that are six or seven-years-old coming in here and doing the wash for their parents.
“There are people in emergency accommodation who have no facilities. I wanted to do something as a community programme that would have impact.
“It’s an issue which has been going on for decades and can affect a child’s education massively throughout their schooling years. It’s something that has never been addressed and in my eyes it’s super important we make changes together.”
Save The Children charity has recently teamed up with Margate 360 for the programme.
Aaron says the business has donated more than 1,000 tokens since opening and he has no plans to stop,
The self service, which is available for people to use from 7am to 8pm every day, creates a small turnover but the work with local businesses helps to boost this.
The laundromat, which is bright and modern, making it a pleasant ‘21st Century’ environment to be in, also extends its service to those who are homeless and works with the Thanet Shelter.
You can ask for the tokens at:
– Cliftonville Primary School
– Northdown Primary School
– Drapers Mill Primary
– Holy Trinity Primary
– Garlinge Primary
– Thanet Children centre
– Thanet Early Help unit
– Social Prescribing Team
.Aaron said: “We want to continue helping those who might be shy to ask for a little bit of help.”
The laundromat offers an affordable service for its customers with a large wash costing just £4.