Free sanitary products in all high schools
Free sanitary products will be distributed within all secondary schools in North Lanarkshire in a bid to end‘period poverty’ for pupils.
The decision to pilot the project follows unanimous agreement from councillors.
The council will also consider rolling out the scheme universally to other establishments including leisure centres, libraries and community centres.
Councillor Heather Mcvey, Equalities Champion, said:“period poverty is an issue that is often a private struggle for many people and if the provision of free sanitary products within schools can help to relieve the situation for many young people in North Lanarkshire, then we are making a real and valuable impact to support families living in poverty.
“There has been widespread discussion about the impact poverty can have for girls and women in terms of difficulties experienced when menstruating.
“While the council welcomes the Scottish Government developing its policy for next year, we felt this was such a pressing matter we wanted to make a difference immediately.”
Free dispensing machines will be installed in toilets of the 23 secondary schools across North Lanarkshire, stocked with a range of sanitary products. A report that went before councillors stated:“the cost of installation and stock for each school will total £25,000. This can be met from current health and wellbeing budgets. However, we have actively sought partnership with several major pharmacists and await their response.”
The Hamilton Advertiser reported last month that schools across South Lanarkshire could also offer free sanitary products to pupils in a bid to tackle“period poverty”.
Chairperson of the Education Resources Committee, Councillor Katy Loudon, announced that the local authority supports“in principle the provision of free sanitary products to school pupils”.
She added:“it is unacceptable that any woman or girl in Scotland should be unable to access sanitary protection due to poverty. We know that school children face challenges when accessing sanitary products, and whilst there are projects currently in place to help, we do not believe they go far enough.
“That is why I am delighted that we are considering how best to supply free, easily accessible sanitary products in schools across South Lanarkshire.
“Such a project, along with the work undertaken by the Scottish Government, will go some way to tackling the scourge of period poverty and give pupils the support and dignity they deserve.”