News / period poverty

Urging schools to take advantage of free period products

By lowie trevena, Thursday Aug 6, 2020

Despite free period products available in schools thanks to a recent Government scheme, new figures show that less than 20 per cent of eligible colleges and schools have signed up and ordered products.

Now, Bristol-based environmental campaigners City to Sea and Wen (the Women’s Environmental Network) are urging schools to take advantage of the free period products being offered to them.

The scheme began in January 2020. Schools have been able to order free period products through a scheme led by the Department for Education, in a bid to tackle period poverty in the UK.

The scheme lets schools order products, which include period pads, tampons and menstrual cups, in a range of sizes and with a range of options for each type of item.

City to Sea successfully campaigned for plastic-free and reusable products to be included in what is offered to students, supporting learning institutions to reach the Government’s target of being plastic-free by 2022.

City to Sea successfully campaigned for plastic-free and reusable products to be included ahead of the campaign launch in January 2020. Photo: City to Sea

However, only 17 per cent of schools and colleges have signed up, and there are concerns this lack of participation may suggest that there isn’t a need for the scheme.

A survey by Plan International UK found that one in 10 students who menstruate between the ages of 14 and 21 were unable to afford period products in the UK prior to lockdown.

Since the coronavirus lockdown, studies show that nearly one-third of young menstruating people in the UK have experienced period poverty during the, a problem which is particularly acute for the country’s more marginalised groups.

“Being able to manage your period without financial worry or shame should be a fundamental right for all,” says Jasmine Tribe, campaigns manager at City to Sea. “We have campaigned hard to make sure that plastic-free and reusable options are offered so that people can choose the products that best suit their bodies, their lifestyles and their needs.

“It’s incredibly important that schools take advantage of this free scheme to tackle period poverty as well as period mishaps – we’ve all been caught short without a product to hand!

“Our worry is that with more financial cuts on the cards we risk this scheme being scaled back if schools don’t make the most of it.”

Schools and college can sign up to the scheme at www.gov.uk/government/publications/period-products-in-schools-and-colleges/period-product-scheme-for-schools-and-colleges-in-england

Main photo: City to Sea

Read more: Eradicating period poverty in Bristol

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