Recently a couple of the NCRN team went to visit the truly selfless and inspiring Gill Minto of ‘Helping Homeless Women North East’. Gill has dedicated endless amounts of time to helping “essentially homeless and vulnerable women” all over the North East by supplying bag donations to charities, homeless outreach projects, refuges and food banks containing sanitary products, hygiene products and basic essential items.”.
We asked Gill a few questions to get a feel for her motivation behind the project. We were met with some truly inspiring responses.
What prompted you to get involved? What was the change you wanted to see? What was the problem you wanted to fix?
It all started for Gill after a picture uploaded onto social media inspired her to do bit of research. She soon found out that “sanitary products are classed as luxury items in the UK, being taxed at 5% and aren’t available on the NHS”. This is putting an extra financial pressure on women who may struggle for money. Gill voiced that she thought “this is shocking when things like condoms are freely available on the NHS, people need to be made aware of the issues around being able to afford sanitary products”
What are you most pleased about?
“The number of volunteers and support and generosity of people to help has blown me away”. It seems that in true Geordie spirit donations have been generous and full because people know they are benefitting people so close to home.
What has been trickiest?
“Asking for help”. Gill is very much someone who likes to do things on her own but realised that “because the project has grown so big” she was starting to find it hard!”
She realised that asking for help was one of the best things she ever did as she “now has a network of 14 local coordinators around the North East keeping a check on their local areas”
Have you gained anything from giving?
“Some volunteers have found what they want to do through my help and that is great to see”. Gills is over the moon to see one woman in her area very keen and wanting to do everything she possibly can for the charity.
If you had a message/word of wisdom you want out there what might it be?
“Think about what it is like to be homeless and in that position… to not have those things that we all take for granted and to know that there is people out there struggling on our own doorsteps, right here in the North East. We need to know that there’s people having to sit outside in the freezing cold and it shouldn’t be like that”