By Gemma Abbott, Director of Free Periods and Coordinator for the Red Box Project.
Did you know that every state-funded school and college in England is entitled to FREE period products for their students?
Following years of campaigning and with the looming threat of legal action, the Government finally introduced funding, so young people could be provided with free period supplies in their place of learning.
There’s only one catch: every school and college has to sign up to the scheme and order the products. And, despite the scheme being launched in January 2020, only 40% had done so by the start of this term.
Of course, it’s been a year of unprecedented disruption, with schools and colleges closed to the majority of students for months. But we cannot afford for the pandemic to lead to inaction on period poverty. In fact, it has underlined just how vitally important it is that we address the issue.
We’ve known for a while that, on average, one in ten girls in the UK is unable to access the period products she needs. But COVID-19 has made this situation worse, much worse. During the first lockdown, almost a third of young women struggled to obtain period supplies – either because they couldn’t access them, or they couldn’t afford them – and as we find ourselves in the deepest recession since records began, we should be deeply concerned that a second lockdown will bring more of the same misery for countless others.
However, there is one key difference between the current lockdown and the first: schools and colleges remain open.
So, on Thursday 12th November, Free Periods and the Red Box Project are holding a Day of Action to encourage every state-funded primary school, secondary school and college in England to sign up to the Government scheme and order their free period supplies. We want to see as many as possible join this wave of the Period Revolution!
And we need your help. We’re looking for individuals across the country to channel their inner revolutionaries and spread the word about the free period products scheme.
We’ve created a tool kit of #PeriodRevolution resources to make it easy:
- You can use our template letter to contact your local school or college to make them aware of the scheme
- Help us to spread the word on social media using these graphics and the hashtag #PeriodRevolution
- Get this flyer whizzing around your network (you could send it to students, teachers, parents, governors, local politicians, your local MP etc, and ask them to pass it on too)
Please. Take five minutes to do one or more of those simple things – that really is all it takes to spark a Period Revolution in your community.
Every one of us can be a revolutionary. Every one of us can make a difference. Every one of us can help to end period poverty.