Homelessness charity launches free sanitary products initiative

Simon community period campaign web 009

​Simon Community Scotland is launching a Period Friendly Point service to provide sanitary products to homeless women in Glasgow and Edinburgh

23rd August 2017 by Georgina Harris 1 Comment

Homelessness charity Simon Community Scotland is supporting homeless women by offering free sanitary products in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

The charity provides practical support to people who are homeless, as well as working to tackle the causes of homelessness. Its street team provides first aid and basics such as food, needle exchange and sleeping bags.

Simon Community Scotland will provide packs designed to last for 48 hours containing sanitary products, spare underwear, wipes and disposable bags, plus small information booklets about wider services that may be useful to these women, such as healthcare and housing.

The packs are being called Period Friendly Pax and they will be available and regularly replenished at various points throughout Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Trained staff will be handing out the packs at Period Friendly Points to speak to women about issues such as personal health and hygiene.

Simon Community Scotland's new Period Friendly Point

Simon Community Scotland's new Period Friendly Point

A recent survey by Simon Community Scotland found that 70% of women using its supported accommodation services had never been told what a period is, nor spoken to anyone about their period. 61% also said they used toilet paper or newspaper during their period because they couldn’t afford sanitary products.

The charity is launching with three Period Friendly Points in Glasgow and two in Edinburgh, and hopes to extend the service to other Scottish towns and cities in the future.

Last week, Scottish Labour MSP Monica Lennon started a consultation process at the Scottish Parliament to make it a legal right to be able to access sanitary products, including a duty on schools, colleges and universities across Scotland to provide them for free in female toilets.

Lorraine McGrath, chief executive at Simon Community Scotland, said: “Homeless women often didn’t have the opportunity to discuss their periods with their mother, at school or with peers as a consequence of traumatic childhood and institutional care.

“The women are often embarrassed to talk about their periods or ask for sanitary products when they need them and have no means to purchase them.

“For women on the street, and even in supported services, they will often choose to buy food, alcohol, drugs or a bed for the night rather than sanitary products.

Monica Lennon also commented: “This is an inspiring initiative from Simon Community Scotland.

“Access to sanitary products is about maintaining basic human rights and dignity.

“I’m glad that the Simon Community are taking this initiative forward. It’s also why I’ve launched a consultation on a members’ bill proposal in the Scottish Parliament to ensure that there is free access to sanitary products for anyone who needs them – you can find out more and give your responses on the consultation by visiting our Period Poverty website.”

McGrath added: “Being homeless is bad enough - poor accommodation, lack of sleep and poor nutrition, with only the clothes you stand in.

“Period Friendly Points will ensure women on the streets do not go without sanitary products and have access to the support they need.”

Comments

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28th August 2017 by maxxmacc

Instead of handing out free sanitary products, these 'do-gooders' should be educating women to stop flushing their personal hygiene products down the lavvy. Studies have shown around half of women have this disgusting habit, which affects the drinking water for men, thereby lowering sperm count, and causing men to turn feminine, due to the increase in estrogen.