Legislation has been officially lodged at the Scottish Parliament to ensure free access to sanitary products for all women. Labour MSP Monica Lennon said her member’s bill aimed to make Scotland a “world leader” in tackling period poverty. It would make it a statutory requirement for schools, colleges and universities to provide such items. The Scottish government has pledged £4m to boost provision in public buildings.
Here in K & M, we were fortunate to have Christine McLean along to a Welfare & Wellbeing Network meeting from CFine to discuss her work on period poverty. In a nutshell, ‘Period poverty’ refers to having a lack of access to sanitary products due to financial constraints. Something that many of us are lucky enough to probably take for granted.
The Scottish Government asked CFINE to operate and coordinate a pilot scheme for six months in 2017-18 through which sanitary products were made available free to all those on low incomes who need them, including any gender categories in need.
Access to Sanitary Products pilot operated in Aberdeen’s regeneration areas through partner organisations. A wide range of community and voluntary organisations supported the pilot, along with the local authority and educational institutions including; schools, colleges and universities.
It has ended in a huge success with over 1,000 people signing up to receive sanitary products. As a result of the success, The Scottish Government has allocated funding to roll-out the distribution of free sanitary products to those in need widely across Scotland, including Aberdeen via the FareShare network.
So, how does this impact in K & M?
What Christine hopes to do is to extend this service into Aberdeenshire. To enable this to happen, a hub for delivery of bulk pallets of the sanitary products needs to be identified which could serve a wider area. For example, in K & M there would be one main hub which would then distribute more widely over the area. Further distribution could be by groups picking up products for a specific settlement and then delivering to all outlets, or encouraging others to collect them. A record is kept of numbers of products distributed to provide tangible evidence of the need for this service and service continuance.
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