North Ayrshire’s local authorities are taking a pioneering stance on period poverty by offering free sanitary products in public buildings across the district.
Women and girls throughout North Ayrshire are to be given free access to sanitary towels and tampons via vending machines so that they no longer need to worry about the costs involved in buying them.
These products have already been made available to pupils at secondary schools across the area, which incorporates the Isle of Arran and much of the east coast of the Firth of Clyde.
In recent years, campaign groups throughout the UK have been aiming to raise awareness of the fact that women and girls often struggle to find enough money to buy sanitary products when they need them.
Organisations including No More Taboo and Bloody Good Period have led the way in seeking to bring the issue to wider prominence and particularly to the attention of politicians in both Edinburgh and London.
A research report by the charity group Plan International UK revealed recently just how widespread the issue of period poverty is across Britain and particularly among young women.
The charity’s research found that 40 per cent of British girls use toilet roll each month instead of proper solutions because they struggle to afford real sanitary products, while 27 per cent have overused sanitary products for the same reason.
“Period poverty has previously been seen as an external issue affecting lower income countries,” Plan International UK’s report says.
“However, in the context of austerity and the rise of homelessness and foodbank use, combined with a lack of supportive and accessible menstrual health management education, it is also being experienced here in the UK.”
First minister Nicola Sturgeon pledged in October 2017 that Scottish schools, colleges and universities would be supplied with free sanitary products from September 2018.
Schemes have also been initiated in various parts of Scotland to see sanitary products given to those who need them via foodbanks across the country.
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There is a pronounced correlation between the rollout of the Universal Credit benefits system and rising demand for foodbanks in specific areas of the country.
A new fund has been launched with the aim of providing financial support to Scots who live on low incomes and struggle to cover the costs of funerals for their loved ones.
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