From Monday 20th January, period products will be freely available after the government stepped up its commitment to ending period poverty.
Last year, the UK government formed a taskforce to combat period poverty. It was co-chaired by Plan International, a children’s charity. In 2017, they highlighted just how serious the problem was with a study into period products.
This study revealed that one in 10 young people had been unable to afford sanitary products. It also found that a similar number had to ‘improvise’ by using items like socks, T-shirts and tissue paper to deal with their period.
Children and Families Minister Michelle Donelan commented on the new scheme, saying, “We know that it is not easy for everyone to access period products where and when they need them.
She added, “This scheme will deal with those problems so young people can go about their daily lives without getting caught out if they have come on their period unexpectedly, forgotten to bring products with them or if they can’t afford the products they need.”
The Scottish government made sanitary products free in schools in 2018, and the Welsh government made a similar move by making sanitary products freely available in schools as of last year.
Free Periods, the organisation created to end period poverty in schools, revealed they were “absolutely thrilled” by the government’s announcement that they’d be extending the scheme into England.
They said, “Having access to free period products in school can have a huge impact on a young person’s ability to participate in their education, and so to reach their full potential.”
“For some, this new scheme may mean the difference between attending school or staying at home when they have their period.”
On top of this, Free Periods has urged schools and colleges in England to act quickly, saying, “We need every eligible institution to use its allocated funding and make period products freely available to their students as soon as possible.”