Third sector pilot project to beat period poverty


​Charities will help deliver groundbreaking Scottish Government project

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11th July 2017 by Graham Martin 2 Comments

Third sector groups are behind a groundbreaking project aimed at combating period poverty.

At least 1,000 women and girls from low-income Aberdeen households are to receive free feminine sanitary products as part of a six-month pilot.

The project, backed by £42,500 funding, will ensure access to sanitary products for local women in immediate need – while informing the future approach to the issue nationwide.

It will be run by Community Food Initiatives North East (CFINE), a social enterprise focused on improving health and wellbeing for those in poverty, using established relationships with local partners through the FareShare surplus food network. CFINE will distribute free products, with an emphasis on ensuring dignity.   

The scheme is a Scottish Government initiative. Announcing the funding as she met some of the organisations involved at CFINE’s distribution centre in Aberdeen, equalities secretary Angela Constance said: “It is unacceptable that any woman or girl in Scotland should be unable to access sanitary products. That is why, as part of our wider aims to eradicate poverty from our country, we are exploring how to make products freely available to low-income groups.

“The pilot in Aberdeen is a first step to help us understand the barriers women and girls face – and to help us develop a sensitive and dignified solution to making these products easily accessible to those who need them.”

Dave Simmers, CFINE chief executive, said: “This is a very welcome development and CFINE is delighted to be involved. CFINE and our 60 partner organisations engaged in Food Poverty Action Aberdeen are very aware of the cost and challenges of accessing sanitary products for many girls and women from low-income households.

“Over a woman’s lifetime, sanitary products cost on average more than £5,000, a significant sum for those on low-income. Many cannot afford them and may use inappropriate methods or miss school. The findings of this pilot should be very useful in informing future action by the Scottish Government.”

Partner organisations involved in the pilot are HomeStart, Instant Neighbour, Women’s Aid, Aberdeen Cyrenians and Aberdeen Foyer.

The move has also been welcomed by foodbank provider the Trussell Trust.

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