New life­line for women in need of help over pe­ri­ods

CAM­PAIGNER’S AP­PEAL GIVES SAN­I­TARY PROD­UCTS TO WOMEN WHO CAN­NOT AF­FORD THEM

Manchester Evening News - - NEWS - By KATHER­INE BAINBRIDGE news­desk@men-news.co.uk @MENnews­desk

NO-ONE likes get­ting their pe­riod, but for most women it’s not much more than a mild an­noy­ance.

How­ever, for those who are home­less or liv­ing in poverty, and un­able to buy san­i­tary prod­ucts, it can be noth­ing short of a dis­as­ter.

That was the re­al­i­sa­tion 23-yearold stu­dent Rosy Can­dlin came to, which prompted her to set up the Ev­ery Month cam­paign last year.

The cam­paign raises money to pro­vide ‘Pe­riod Packs’ to those most in need.

Con­sist­ing of san­i­tary tow­els, tam­pons and a choco­late bar, they are put to­gether by Rosy and her small band of vol­un­teers, then dis­trib­uted to char­i­ties and food banks across Greater Manchester.

Rosy, who re­cently moved to Lon­don but is from Chorl­ton, said she was in­spired to start the cam­paign when she moved back to Manchester after univer­sity in Ed­in­burgh and saw how hard aus­ter­ity had hit the city.

“There are so many more food banks now than there were only four years ago when I left,” she said. “I hadn’t re­alised how bad things had be­come.

“I don’t re­mem­ber what got me think­ing about what it would be like to have your pe­riod when you don’t have any money, but I re­mem­ber think­ing it must be re­ally dif­fi­cult.

“You can get con­tra­cep­tion on the NHS so I thought you must be able to get san­i­tary prod­ucts from your GP – then I looked into it, and re­alised you can’t.

“I was amazed that some­thing so vi­tal is not avail­able.”

Rosy started call­ing at food banks in Greater Manchester to ask if they needed do­na­tions of san­i­tary prod­ucts, and that was when she started to un­der­stand how great the need was, as well as the ex­tent to which ‘pe­riod poverty’ is seen as ta­boo.

“The food banks said they were not get­ting do­na­tions of san­i­tary prod­ucts, but they were get­ting re­quests,” she said. “They had women com­ing in and ask­ing for san­i­tary tow­els or pads, but they of­ten had none to give them.

“I think be­cause we are told not to talk about it, peo­ple don’t re­ally think about it, and a lot of the time it wouldn’t oc­cur to peo­ple that san­i­tary prod­ucts are some­thing they could do­nate.” Rosy set up a fundrais­ing page on­line and shared it on so­cial me­dia, hop­ing to raise a bit of cash so she could buy prod­ucts to do­nate. It be­came too much for Rosy to man­age on her own, so she put a call out on so­cial me­dia for any­one in­ter­ested in vol­un­teer­ing to con­tact her – and re­ceived more than 50 emails in one night. The Ev­ery Month cam­paign is now run by 13 vol­un­teers, in­clud­ing lawyers and women who work in the char­ity sec­tor. Rosy said: “I wasn’t ex­pect­ing it to take off like it did. I didn’t re­ally know how big the prob­lem was. The packs are dis­trib­uted through Ur­ban Village Med­i­cal Prac­tice in An­coats, home­less­ness char­ity ReachOut in Chorl­ton and Com­pas­sion Food Bank in Moss Side. Phys­i­cal do­na­tions of prod­ucts can also be made at these or­gan­i­sa­tions, and a link for cash do­na­tions can be found on the web­site at ev­ery­mon­th­cam­paign.org. Their Face­book page is face­book.com/ev­ery­mon­th­manch­ester. Rosy Can­dlin

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