Cause of the Fortnight – Smalls For All

Our latest Cause of the Fortnight, where we showcase one of our causes for two weeks and highlight the impactful work they do, is Smalls for All.

To help tell their story, we spoke to Maria Macnamara Founder & CEO of Smalls for All.

Could you tell us a bit about the charity? Why was it set up and what is your mission?

“Smalls for All (Smalls) is a charity that collects new pants, and new and gently worn bras, for people in need in Africa and the UK. Based in West Lothian, it was founded by Maria Macnamara, who’d seen a need during a volunteering trip to Ethiopia in September 2009. When she came back, she decided to do a one-off collection of new pants to send over.

On returning home, her initial plan had been to collect 2,000 pairs of new pants for the orphanage. But by the end of the year she had 6,000 and they just kept coming. In August 2010 she registered as a charity and today the charity supports adults and children in Africa and the UK who can’t afford or can’t get any underwear.

Our aim is to provide as many people with underwear as possible to give them the dignity they deserve. Imagine how difficult and embarrassing it would be to have your period but not have pants to accommodate sanitary products – many girls simply stay home rather than go to school during their period, and that doesn’t bode well for their education. It’s not just girls. We recently had a request from a UK school bank for underwear saying they have children who can’t do PE as they have no underwear so they cant use the changing rooms.”

What are you fundraising for specifically?

“The funds we raise go towards the running costs of our warehouse where or volunteers sort and store the underwear. “

How has the cost of living/giving crisis affected your fundraising as an organisation?

“In 2019 – before anyone had even heard of Covid – we received on average around 5,500 parcels each month. By April 2021, this had dropped to 3,673. In April this year, we received only 2,470 and donations are continuing to fall as people begin to feel the effects of the cost of living crisis. Monetary donations have fallen in line with the underwear donations, while requests for the underwear are as high as they have ever been. “

How will the donations you’re raising this year help? What will they go towards?

“The funds we raise through easyfundraising this year will go mainly towards the running costs of our warehouse – the rent and electricity. Year-on-year rents continue to rise, but the real concern is the cost of heat, lighting and power which is expected to rise hugely for 2022 and 2023. Current predictions are that consumers’ energy bills could hit £3,000 a year and plunge 40% of people into fuel poverty. And while Government help might apply to families, Smalls won’t benefit from any protections, caps or discounts.”

If you could give one piece of advice about how to promote easyfundraising to supporters what would that be?

“The donation reminder makes it astonishingly easy to raise funds for free when buying online. It’d hard to remember to log into easyfundraising, so when you’re searching and the reminder pops up, it’s wonderful to be able to get that free donation by making one simple click. If people understood how easy it is, once registered, to help this way what a difference it could make!”

If you’d like to nominate your cause to be our Cause of the Fortnight, please email your full name, cause name and contact details to