New lifeline for women in need of help over periods
CAMPAIGNER’S APPEAL GIVES SANITARY PRODUCTS TO WOMEN WHO CANNOT AFFORD THEM
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