Beauty clinic launches charity campaign to help survivors of domestic violence

Vanessa Brown launches Regifting Beauty

Survivors of domestic abuse will be treated to a little luxury, thanks to the generosity of a Cumbrian business – but they need your help.

Carlisle-based VL Aesthetics first developed the concept of Regifting Beauty in 2019, before officially launching it in January 2020. The scheme sees people donating their unwanted beauty products, so they can in turn be given to survivors of domestic abuse.

The pandemic forced the scheme to halt in 2021, but it returned with a vengeance last year – even going national.

So far, more than £30,000 worth of unwanted health and beauty items have been regifted to those most in need.

Clinic owner Vanessa Brown said: “2023 will be our third year of running regifting beauty and we aim for it to be our biggest to-date, with more than 20 location drop-off points. 

“Last year we ran it nationally, but we found people in the north were so much more generous – we had almost triple the amount of donations than the south of England. So this year we are returning to just hosting it in Cumbria.”

She continued: “This scheme is vital, because victims of domestic violence deserve to have not just beauty products that are luxury items, but also essential items that they literally do not have access too.

“We accumulate lots of unwanted gifts at Christmas time that those in crisis deserve to have.

“At VL Aesthetics, we aim to improve the way someone looks and feels, and by donating your unwanted beauty items to our regifting beauty campaign you too can help someone.”

The main beneficiaries of the scheme is the Freedom Project West Cumbria, based in Workington.

The charity is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, and has been involved with VL Aesthetics’ scheme since its inception.

Vicky Pike, charity manager, recalled: “Vanessa reached out four years ago with the idea of the campaign, and we were very keen to become involved.

“The difference this makes to our service users is wonderful.

“The products allow us to provide emergency parcels, including items such as soap, body wash, hair care products etc. Additionally it also allows us to gift non-essential items, things survivors wouldn’t necessary be able to afford themselves or aren’t of high priority over other issues they may be facing.”

And the scheme is not just about the recipients being able to spoil themselves, for many it allows them the chance to regain some “normality” during a difficult time.

“The beauty products allow survivors to take the steps to practice some self care and do something for themselves,” explained Vicky, “something that is quite often forgotten about in times of crisis.

“We expect due to the cost of living crisis that these products will be needed more than ever as people are now choosing whether to eat or heat. If we can help in any way; whether it be toiletries and beauty products, we can help ease the financial pressures people are facing.”

To get involved, visit VL Aesthetics, on Kingmoor Road in Carlisle, to donate items or drop your items at donation box at various locations in Cumbria, including Bookends, Lakeland and Sculpture House Hair in Carlisle, and the Cumberland Infirmary. For a full list, keep an eye on VL Aesthetics on Facebook. Donations will be accepted until 31 January 2023.

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