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Period Poverty Is Getting Worse, Here’s How To Donate And Find Help

today25 May 2022 2

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The cost of living is making it harder for women and girls to buy period products.

A new poll of 1,000 girls aged 14-21 reveals that more than one in four (28%) are struggling to afford period products, and nearly one in five (19%) report being unable to afford period products at all since the start of 2022.

One in 10 of the young women who took part in the survey had to go to a food bank to obtain free period products. And half of the girls who struggled to afford period products since the start of 2022 had to cut back on food and groceries to be able to buy them. This number dramatically increased by almost double compared to last year.

Almost a quarter (23%) of girls had to cut back spending money on school supplies to afford to buy period products and 19% cut back on buying non-prescription health products.

Shockingly, the vast majority (80%) of girls who struggled or were unable to afford period products have used toilet paper as a substitute for period products, up an eighth on last year. Around 12% have used socks, 10% have used newspaper/paper and 7% have used other fabric.

As the cost-of-living continues to rise rapidly – with the price of food, energy and multiple household items skyrocketing – the survey also found that overall, over a quarter (26%) of UK girls are concerned about being able to afford period products over the coming months.

Rose Caldwell, CEO of Plan International UK, described the findings as “devastating”.

“As we look to an uncertain future, many more families will face tough financial choices, and more young women than ever are likely to face issues affording the products they need,” she said. “Period products are a necessity, not a luxury, and they need to be treated as such.”

How can you help combat period poverty?

Let’s be real: we need intervention from those in power to reduce the price of period products and tackle the cost of living crisis, so that women are girls can afford to buy them in the first place. You can write to big brands and your MP to get your voice on this heard.

But if you’re able to donate items to support those in need, the sustainable period brand Dame recommends donating “reusables or plastic-free products where possible, and remember pads are more popular than tampons”.

“Products need to make more financial sense, and the rise of reusable products like menstrual cups in particular is helping to address this as the cup can be used for an entire period each cycle and lasts for years,” a spokesperson explained.

“Single use products will almost always end up more expensive over time, so the move to reusables can really help here as long as we can get the products into people’s hands for little or no cost.”

Some charities prefer to receive donated products including pads, tampons and menstrual cups, whereas other organisations prefer monetary donations, so they can buy items most suitable for their clients and distribute accordingly. If you’re not sure, always ask.

Where can you provide or find help?

There are organisations around the country helping girls and women to access period products. We’ve listed just a few of them below:

Your local food bank or community hub

The majority of food banks/hubs now stock period products, so your local centre is a good first port of call if you’d like to donate items or you need to access help. The Trussell Trust website has a directory of nationwide food banks, but you’ll find others by googling support in your area or looking at local Facebook groups. While some food banks require a referral (from a GP or social worker), others do not. Never be afraid to walk in and ask for help. To donate to a food bank, check if there are preferred ‘donation days’ listed online, or place items for donation in community ‘collection points’ (often in supermarkets).

Freedom4girls s a Leeds-based charity that fights against period poverty. They work with people who menstruate to challenge stigmas and gender inequalities linked with menstruation. You can donate products directly to the charity via its multiple ‘donation stations’ situated in Leeds and other areas of West Yorkshire. The charity also accepts postal donations and financial donations. Products are distributed to women and girls in need, primarily among those based in Leeds and Sheffield. You can find details on how to donate here and request free products via this online form.

Bloody Good Period has over 100 partners across England and Wales, including charities and food banks. They give period products to refugees, asylum-seekers and those who can’t afford or access them. Since March 2020, they’ve been able to distribute over 100,000 packs of period products.

The charity does not accept physical donations of period products, but it does reply on financial donations. It operates by bulk ordering products and distributing them across the country. You can read more about donating funds here, or even organise a Bloody Good Fundraiser.

Hey Girls is a “buy-one, donate-one” social enterprise, meaning every time you buy a period product via the site, you’re helping another woman to access a product she needs. There are cups, pads, tampons, period pants and more available via the shop.

Girlguiding aims to end period poverty and the stigma associated with periods. They are a leading charity for girls and young women. They’ve teamed up with WaterAid to develop activities to get girls and young women talking openly about period.

Schools

Schools across the country can sign up to access free period products for pupils who need them. Speak to your/your child’s school if this is something that would help,

Written by: Admin

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