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Pupils inspire district-wide period poverty scheme

Posted by East Suffolk Communications Team on 13 March 2019 | Comments

Pupils at Felixstowe Academy have launched a campaign to end period poverty - inspiring Suffolk Coastal councillors to call for a similar roll-out across the District.

The Felixstowe Academy campaign, titled ‘Proud, Period!’ aim to support young women throughout their periods by providing boxes filled with free sanitary products. It comes after national investigations showed some girls were forced to miss school because they can not afford sanitary protection.

The idea for the campaign came from pupils Chloe Mills, Kat Walker, Katie Bridges-Burns, Megan Hobby and Jasmine Smith. With support from their Subject Leader for Health and Social Care, Mrs Couto and supply of sanitary products from Basic Life Charity, they made it a reality.

Speaking on behalf of the girls, Katie Bridges-Burns said: “Sanitary products aren’t a luxury, they are a necessity, and every girl and woman should have access to them. Through ‘Proud, Period!’ we’ve helped achieve that for the girls at Felixstowe Academy. We now aim to take it further and help people in the wider community.”

“I am so proud of the 6th Form Health and Social Care students who have championed ‘Proud, Period! such an important initiative. Their energy and passion to destigmatise ‘that time of the month’ is something that will be remembered in years to come,” said Mrs Couto.

Felixstowe Academy now has six boxes with sanitary products at the school - two on every floor. The boxes include sanitary towels, tampons, wipes, tissues and information pamphlets. Toilets containing the boxes are marked with a red glitter heart on the door.

Inspired by the ‘Proud, Period!’ campaign, Suffolk Coastal councillors have joined together to start a scheme, titled ‘Period Poverty’. 

Suffolk Coastal councillors joined together and donated a total of £18,237.16 from their Enabling Communities Budget for the scheme and are challenging local businesses and organisations to get involved to help end period poverty in east Suffolk.

Speaking on behalf of the cllrs, Cllr TJ Haworth-Culf, Suffolk Coastal Cabinet Member with responsibility for Customers, Communities and Leisure, said: “We very much wanted to support the ‘Proud, Period!’ campaign because no girl should ever have to feel embarrassed or miss school because they can’t afford sanitary products.

“The girls at Felixstowe Academy can be very proud of what they have achieved and it has really inspired us to try and tackle this issue across the District.

“Therefore, we have set up the ‘Period Poverty’ scheme so we can work towards ending period poverty in east Suffolk once and for all. Our goal is to see it rolled out in places such as libraries, schools, food banks and community centres.

“However, in order to make it a success, we need the support of local businesses and organisations. Not only do we need to raise awareness of the scheme, we need locations where people can donate sanitary products and also locations where we can place boxes for those who need it.

“We know that some businesses and organisations are already supporting period poverty through various national schemes and we would like to urge them to get in touch to discuss how we can work together to achieve our goals.”

If you are a local business or organisation and would like to get involved in the ‘Period Poverty’ scheme, please contact Chloe Winlow on chloe.winlow@eastsuffolk.gov.uk

The Councillors who donated towards the project are:
 Cllr TJ Haworth-Culf Cllr Susan Mower 
 Cllr Stuart Lawson Cllr Maureen Jones
 Cllr Geoff Holdcroft Cllr Patricia Mulcahy 
 Cllr Carol Poulter Cllr Ray Herring 
 Cllr Tracey Green Cllr Geoffrey Lynch 
 Cllr Mark Newton Cllr Susan Harvey
 Cllr John Fisher Cllr Tony Fryatt
 Cllr Stephen Burroughes Cllr Michael Bond 
 Cllr Deborah Dean Cllr John Kelso