Period poverty scheme extended until next summer

Written by: Pete Henshaw | Published:
Image: Adobe Stock

A scheme to provide primary and secondary schools with fully funded period products has been extended until the end of the academic year.

The Department for Education (DfE) programme offers tampons, pads, and menstrual cups as well as other environmentally friendly products.

It launched in January 2020 after the issue was brought to national attention three years ago by student Amika George and her #freeperiods campaign, which highlighted the fact that more than 137,000 UK children have missed school because of period poverty.

Menstrual products cost women £13 a month and 40 per cent of UK girls say they have used toilet roll because they cannot afford them. Furthermore, one in 10 girls are unable to pay for these essential products, according to 2017 research from charity Plan International UK (for more, see our coverage here).

The free period products scheme is being delivered by Phs Group. Schools are given the option to order environmentally friendly or reusable products. Schools are not charged for the products or for delivery.

The scheme is open to primary and secondary schools given that children can start menstruating as young as 8 or 9.

The DfE confirmed earlier this month that state-funded schools in England can order free period products for the remainder of the academic year. Each school or college has a budget that will remain intact until the end of the calendar year, after which it will be renewed with a new spend cap in January 2022.

Gemma Abbott, director of #FreePeriods, said: “This scheme is an amazing opportunity for all schools and colleges to ensure that no young person has to miss out on their education for lack of access to period products.

“We want to urge every school and college in England to place orders for free period supplies as soon as they can. We’re glad to see the scheme has been extended to the end of the academic year – let’s take the chance to show just how valuable it is, so we can secure its continuation well into the future.”

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