Poverty charity names next chief executive

The Hygiene Bank, which tackles hygiene poverty, has appointed Ruth Brock as its chief executive.

She joins from education charity Coram Shakespeare Schools Foundation, where she has worked for eight years, most recently as managing director.

Brock also spent five years as artistic director of inclusive arts charity East End Shed.

“I’m thrilled to be joining The Hygiene Bank at this pivotal time in the organisation’s growth and I’m particularly pleased to have the chance, in these difficult times, to play a role in helping to combat the worst effects of the cost-of-living crisis,” she said.

“With my teaching, campaigning & charity experience I hope to build on The Hygiene Bank’s fantastic achievements to date. I’m ambitious to reach even more of those who need our work the most, mitigate the hidden & terrible effects of hygiene poverty and, ultimately, end it for good.

“I’m so excited to roll up my sleeves and get going – and I’m hugely looking forward to meeting the team, trustees and, critically, volunteers, charity partners and service users so that I can learn from their expertise and experiences.”



She replaces Edgar Penollar, who took over as temporary chief executive role in March 2020, at the start of the Covid pandemic.

Work by the charity includes distributing personal and household hygiene products such as soap and toothpaste.

Penollar says that he stepped into the role to help “this very young charity” that “was at crisis point due to the impact of the pandemic”. He had originally taken on the role for six months.

“I hand over the reins to Ruth Brock who has a depth of experience that will help the charity fulfil its objectives in tackling hygiene poverty,” he said.

Hygiene Bank chair Tom Poynter added: “Firstly, our enormous gratitude to Edgar Penollar who took on the CEO role as the pandemic arrived in March 2020. Edgar has brought a huge sense of stability and robustness to the charity which has enabled us to deliver significant growth during that period as well as delivering to our service users and community partners in such a difficult period.

“I am thrilled to confirm that Edgar will continue to support the charity as finance executive.”

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