Despite some significant leaps being made in the fight to end period poverty in the UK over the last few years, it’s still very much an issue – and even more so during the pandemic.
In fact, Bloody Good Period, a UK charity that provides menstrual supplies to those who can’t afford to buy them, has distributed over 32,000 products since the start of lockdown – that’s an increase of 5.5 times the normal level of demand they receive for menstrual products.
‘Research by Plan UK, and our own experience of distributing period products over the last three years, shows that too many people were already struggling to access period products,’ Bloody Good Period’s Rachel Grocott told YOU.
‘But lockdown has highlighted and worsened inequalities, and made that situation far worse. More people are being stretched financially and pushed into poverty. At the same time, services such as drop-in centres for refugees, and of course schools – which started to provide period products at the start of this year – are closed. So factors are combining to push people into making impossible choices between food, other essentials, and period products – which should never be considered a luxury, as anyone with a period knows.’
It’s obvious that the pandemic has only made the period poverty crisis in the UK more acute, and the responsibility has largely fallen on charities like Bloody Good Period to pick up the slack, despite not being able to utilise their usual army of volunteers due to social distancing measures.
‘Since the start of lockdown, we’ve continued to provide period products to everyone who needs them, through a combination of our Take What You Need scheme – where individuals and groups can access products from our Alexandra Palace storage unit – and delivery direct to community groups, food banks, charities, refuges and more.’
How can you help?
Donations are greatly appreciated in times like this, as it allows charities like BGP to continue bulk-buying products and delivering them to groups across the country. Bloody Good Period aren’t the only ones working to help those in need of period products, either.
Hey Girls is the first ‘buy one give one’ period product social enterprise where, for every product sold, they’ll give a box to girls and young women in the UK from low-income families.
Meanwhile, if you’re in your local Boots store, look to see if they have one of The Hygiene Bank’s donation points – it’s a big yellow box that you can’t miss – where you can donate period products.
However, we all know that times are tough and not everyone can donate money right now and if that’s the case, the people at BGP hugely appreciate people sharing the charity’s messages on social media and ‘reminding everyone that periods don’t stop in a pandemic’. Checking out their Instagram page @bloodygoodperiod is also where you’ll see specific call-outs for requests for help.
Together, we can end period poverty.