Residents in East Suffolk have had their say on how periods impact those who experience them as part of East Suffolk Council’s ongoing work to fight period poverty.
East Suffolk Council ran a survey titled ‘Periods – East Suffolk’ earlier this year to get a clearer picture of how people in the district are affected by their periods and how the Council can best provide the necessary support and address the stigma associated with periods.
In total, 1,184 people took part in the survey, providing important information on some of the issues and concerns faced by those who experience periods.
Some of the findings from the survey revealed that over 65% of those who took part have missed school or work days due to the periods, with over 81% saying this was due to pain. It also highlighted that many people don’t feel comfortable talking to their male peers about their periods, with over 56% saying they don’t.
When asked whether they would be open to using sustainable sanitary products, over 42% said no due to worries about such products being too expensive, too much work, too uncomfortable, too messy and more. Worryingly, over 43% said they have used sanitary items not fit for purpose, or for too long, because of the cost and almost 20% have been in receipt of free sanitary items before.
The survey was carried out as part of East Suffolk Council’s Period Poverty project, which was launched in 2018. Through this project, the Council provides ‘PP boxes’ containing free sanitary products which are accessible via local hubs, consisting mainly of businesses, organisations and schools. The aim of the project is to make sanitary products easily accessible to all East Suffolk residents regardless of their financial or personal circumstances.
Cllr Letitia Smith, Cabinet Member for Communities, Leisure and Tourism, said: “Everyone is affected differently by periods, and some of these impacts can be largely ‘invisible’ to others. As well as health issues, they can affect wellbeing in different ways and the ability to function normally in a range of situations and of course, they also come with a financial cost which is a struggle to some people.
“I want to thank everyone who took the time to take part in our survey as this has given us a better understanding of the impact periods can have on local levels and what support is needed for those who experience it.
“We will now be running a social media campaign based on the findings of the survey, so that we can ensure that people know where to access free sanitary products if needed and where to go if they need some help or advice on managing their periods. Alongside this, we will also be reaching out to more local businesses and organisations to encourage them to get involved in the Period Poverty project by becoming a hub to make free sanitary products even more accessible in our communities.”
See more information about the Period Poverty project, including where to find free sanitary boxes.
Any businesses or organisations wanting to sign up as a hub should email firstname.lastname@example.org