Three Surrey teens have led a £100k charity project with a Richmond business to provide 10,000 hand sanitisers to food banks nationwide during lockdown.

After reading that some foodbanks had over 3,000 extra people requiring support each day, Surrey teens Anushka Patel (19), her sister Anika Patel (17) and cousin Sasha Mehmet (16) decided to spend the time they had planned to spend in internships and work experience placements this summer tackling the crisis on the ground, by providing hand sanitisers to food banks.

Paring with chemical solutions company, Newport Industries, which has head offices in Sheen Road, Richmond, they plan to manufacture and distribute free hand sanitisers to foodbanks across London, Liverpool and Yorkshire.

“During lockdown we spent a lot of time watching the news and seeing that the demand for food banks had increased. At the same time, our dad, who works in the chemical industry, was receiving multiple phone calls a day asking for specific components needed to make hand sanitisers.

“The price of the components had risen by tenfold which then increased the prices of the hand sanitisers themselves. This led us to propose the idea of bringing in hand sanitiser and donating them to food banks and people who need it most,” said Anika Patel.

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The campaign launched this September with the first hand sanitisers hand delivered by the team to Bounds Green Food Bank in North London. So far, 7,800 1L bottles of hand sanitisers have already been delivered, however the charity initiative aims to help over 35,000 people.

On Friday (18 Sept), MP for Richmond Park, Sarah Olney, visited Newport Industries to speak to the young women about their business plan. The Lib Dem MP said:

"This week is hygiene week in England, which brings awareness to donations of hygiene supplies for food banks. So it is fantastic that those food banks you are helping do not need to worry about donations of hand sanitizers at this moment."