Red Box to help tackle teens’ pe­riod poverty

The Wokingham Paper - - NEWS - By JAMES HAST­INGS news@wok­ing­ham­pa­per.co.uk

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.”

red­box­pro­ject.org

Vicky Perry is the mum be­hind Wok­ing­ham’s Red Box scheme

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