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Council helps combat 'period poverty' with free sanitary products

PUBLISHED: 16:20 09 January 2018 | UPDATED: 16:20 09 January 2018

The scheme was started at libraries in Norwich to donate sanitary products to homeless women or women and girls on low incomes. Community Librarian Caroline Varney-Bowers. Photo: Sonya Duncan

The scheme was started at libraries in Norwich to donate sanitary products to homeless women or women and girls on low incomes. Community Librarian Caroline Varney-Bowers. Photo: Sonya Duncan

ARCHANT EASTERN DAILY PRESS (01603) 772434

In recent years headlines have been telling stories of girls missing school and mothers stealing sanitary products due to period poverty.

The scheme was started at libraries in Norwich to donate sanitary products to homeless women or women and girls on low incomes. Community Librarian Caroline Varney-Bowers. Photo: Sonya DuncanThe scheme was started at libraries in Norwich to donate sanitary products to homeless women or women and girls on low incomes. Community Librarian Caroline Varney-Bowers. Photo: Sonya Duncan

However, despite media interest, many women and girls are still unable to afford basic provisions for menstruation with food bank organisers stating some resort to using socks and newspapers in the absence of actual products.

South Norfolk Council is now working with the county council’s libraries and the Help Hub to support women on low incomes by providing free sanitary products, a scheme which was successfully launched in Norwich last year.

Cllr Yvonne Bendle said: “We know that some women in South Norfolk are also struggling to pay for sanitary products. The Waveney Foodbank has been contacted by 12 schools in the district requesting sanitary products this year alone.

“And these products can add up. For example, a single parent of two girls would need to find around £30 a month for sanitary products. That’s a lot of money for some families, who may already be using the food bank to top up.”

Scotland is currrently piloting a programme which provides free sanitary products for women while in England schools are being asked to decide how to respond to demand.

Wymondham and Hingham Co-op are supporting South Norfolk’s appeal and are accepting donations, whilst the East of England Co-Op have donated over 600 items so far.

Sam Winter, area manager for the Co-op, said: “As a community retailer, the Co-op is committed to making a difference to local life and is pleased to support this campaign which works to confront this issue while providing practical help and support to homeless women and those on lower incomes or facing financial difficulty in our communities.”

Anyone who would like to donate sanitary products, can drop them off at any South Norfolk Library or at South Norfolk Council offices, Long Stratton.

Additionally, if you feel you could give up an hour or two a week to help ensure each library has enough stock and to redistribute as necessary, please contact Emma Eltringham on 01508 533945.

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