Red Box to help tackle teens’ period poverty
VICKY Perry is a woman on a mission.
The Wokingham mum has become a familiar sight whizzing around the town talking about a subject many find embarrassing.
But Vicky is not just about talk – she is just as quick to swing into action mode as the Wokingham rep for the Red Box Project.
New statistics show that 138,000 girls in the UK missed school in the last year because they couldn’t afford sanitary products.
Now Vicky is leading a boroughwide drive to eradicate period poverty in a campaign supported by leading figures including London mayor, Sadiq Khan.
“The Red Box Project exists to quietly ensure that no young woman misses school because she has her period,” said Vicky.
“There is no doubt that even in a relatively wealthy area like Wokingham, period poverty is a big problem.
“I mean, we have a foodbank so if people can’t afford to feed themselves, why should we be surprised they cannot afford sanitary products?
“I met one single mum with four daughters. She told me she regularly faced the problem of deciding whether to buy food or tampons.
“It is heartbreaking to think this is an issue going on right here in our town.”
Vicky collects donations and delivers them to a number of places including both primary and secondary schools.
It follows reports that one in 10 young women resort to using rags, old socks and newspapers because they cannot afford sanitary products.
“We know many girls skip school rather than face the embarrassment of going out without tampons,” added Vicky.
“This not only affects their education but it also risks health issues if underwear or other items are not washed properly.”
Vicky has set up donation points at the Wool Shop in Denmark Street as well as Sainsbury’s in Winnersh.
Free tampons are available at the Bohunt and Edgbarrow schools, as well as Reading’s Coley and Oxford Road primaries.
“People in the borough have been very generous in supporting the campaign,” said Vicky. “We launched the Wokingham branch at the end of April and in a short space of time, have received donations from mums, and even schoolchildren.
“We are now hoping to cover youth clubs as well as schools as these become very busy during the summer months, so we always welcome donations.”
Vicky Perry is the mum behind Wokingham’s Red Box scheme