Campaigners are confident period poverty in Angus can be eradicated by the end of the year, despite the challenges of Covid-19.
Within the last year, Free Period Angus has provided over 70,000 free products to girls and women throughout the area.
The response is part of the Scottish Government’s period Poverty Campaign after shock statistics revealed as many as three in ten Angus girls or women were not attending school or work due to a lack of period products.
The Angus Community Planning Partnership co-ordinated scheme also became one of the first in the UK to become involved with an initiative providing women with three months’ worth of period products free.
With Free Period Angus funded until at least the end of 2022, project leaders say they remain confident the area is on track to eradicate the poverty issue before this year is out.
Free period products have been delivered to almost 200 community collection points across Angus, from sports centres and GP surgeries to shops and charities.
New initiatives developed during pandemic
When coronavirus struck, the project team was forced to consider new and innovative ways to continue the momentum.
It led to the pioneering link with Hey Girls, who post out three months’ worth of products, including environmentally-friendly reusable pads, on behalf of Free Period Angus.
Angus Council strategic policy and planning manager, Shelley Hague said: “We have achieved so much since Free Period Angus began, so Covid wasn’t going to stand in our way.
“Period products are expensive. At up to £18 per month, they’re just another financial burden and, for many, one they simply cannot afford.
“Similarly, with disposable products a significant blight on our environment, reusable products are a brilliant alternative and really growing in popularity.
Importance of sustainability
Free Period Angus has also teamed up with community group Sustainable Kirriemuir.
The collaboration has prompted requests from an additional 2,000 people throughout Angus for free, reusable products this year alone.
Lauren Urquhart, Sustainable Kirriemuir learning and events leader said: “We support people in making small changes to live more sustainably and considerably and want to demonstrate that these small changes can make a big difference.
“By working with Free Period Angus, we are encouraging people to consider reusable products as an alternative to disposables, helping reduce waste and protect our environment.”
Amy Briggs of Hey Girls added, “It’s clear from the huge response and positive reviews that people are becoming more aware of the impact that period waste has on our environment and are willing to make the transition to trying reusable products.
“Environmentally sustainable period products can be used for years at a time, saving tonnes of waste going to landfill and removing pressure on household budgets at the same time.”