Families struggling to send their children to school in clean uniforms can now benefit from a free community washing machine thanks to a Packet charity initiative.

Earlier this year readers voted in the Cash for Charities 2022 competition, helping ten selected charities across the south coast region win a share of a £16,000 cash pot.

The cash was provided by The Gannett Foundation, the Packet’s parent company’s charitable arm.

Now the Cornwall Independent Poverty Forum will receive £901.56 for their share of the votes received.

This will be spent on a community washing machine and dryer at the charity’s Fairwinds site in Falmouth.

Speaking about the project previously, Ben Hudd, who is the lead at Fairwinds, said: "We are looking to use the space to help in any way with the cost of living crisis. Ten or 15 years ago, when I started the work, it was quite easy to find distinct groups of people that needed help – what we have found recently is everybody needs help. It's everywhere.

"Low income families are having to make decisions as to whether they put food on the table or electricity in the meter. Putting a cycle of clothes through the washing machine is, ridiculously, becoming outside people's budgets.

"The idea is we fit a washing machine and dryer in to the space, then as part of our Tuesday and Thursday sessions we're just open for people to come in and have a chat, and put a wash on.

"We're starting to see more children in schools who are basically going to school without clean clothes every day.”

A project at Fairwinds in Falmouth, pictured on its launch evening, has won Cash for Charities money.

A project at Fairwinds in Falmouth, pictured on its launch evening, has won Cash for Charities money.

Paul Green, Project Development Manager for the Cornwall Independent Poverty Forum, thanked everyone who had voted for the project.

He added that in addition to the washing facilities, vouchers to go towards new uniform would also be handed out to families in need.

Mr Green said: “We said from the beginning that if we could get around £1,000 that will make a big difference.

“A big thank you to everyone who voted for us. It’s all come from people in the community.”

The washing facilities, when fitted, will be available at the Tuesday 'Listening Post' sessions between 10am and 2pm, as well as drop-in sessions on Thursdays at the same times.

And while the impetus behind the new project was low income families, the washing facilities will be available to anyone to use if they need them.

Fairwinds is based in the converted basement area of King Charles the Martyr Church, in what used to the Huddle Cafe. It has its own entrance from the street and is open to all.