Co-operation helps homeless stay safe in the sun

July 26, 2010

A unique scheme to protect homeless people against the health risks associated with sun exposure is now underway.

Homeless ManThe Co-operative Pharmacy with the organisation, Sunwise, is supplying free factor 30 sun cream and after sun to the homeless in 14 UK cities during the summer months, to help shield them from one of the fastest growing forms of cancer in the UK – skin cancer 1.

Following the initial roll out of the scheme last year to 12 cities and a trial in Cardiff in 2008, the scheme continues to grow.

Despite frequently unsettled summers in the UK, the two organisations are warning that even during cloudy days, ultra violet (UV) rays can still have a harmful effect on the skin.

Phill Lewis, Advice and Support Manager at Cardiff Council founded Sunwise specifically to tackle a health issue, which affects a significant number of homeless every year. After the success of last year’s project, a number of hostels from various locations across the UK contacted Sunwise to become part of the scheme.

Phill Lewis said: “Despite only having short sunny periods in the UK, risks of exposure to the sun still exist, particularly for a group of people who often don’t have a choice about being outdoors for a greater period of time.”

Mandeep Mudhar, Head of NHS Development at The Co-operative Pharmacy, said: “Even when the sun isn’t hot and it’s a cloudy day or you are sitting in the shade, the sun can reflect onto your skin, particularly from concrete or water.

“Our customers continually receive reminders about when and how they should apply their sun cream, but while the general public is encouraged to apply this liberally, for homeless people sun screen is not an affordable priority. As a pharmacy at the heart of the community, we are committed to caring for everyone.”

For more information about the project in your area contact: Phill Lewis, Advice & Support Manager, Cardiff Council 02920 537367 or Deborah Noyes, Operational HUB Officer, Cardiff Council 02920 871351.

Cancer Research UK


Additional Information

1. Cities and organisations participating in the Sunwise scheme are:

  • Edinburgh – Dunedin Harbour Hostel
  • Newcastle – YHN, Gosforth
  • Leeds – St Anne’s Resource Centre
  • Manchester – Booth Centre, Manchester Cathedral
  • Sheffield – Roundabout Ltd
  • Birmingham – SIFA Fireside
  • Brighton – The New Steine Mews Hostel
  • Bristol – St Mungo’s Outreach team, The Compass Centre
  • Swansea – Cyrenians Community Centre
  • Cardiff – Tresillian House
  • Exeter – St Petrock’s
  • Southampton – The Society of St James
  • Liverpool – The Whitechapel Centre
  • Lancaster – Lancaster and District Homeless Action Service Ltd