Updated: Oct 28, 2021
BUSTLE REPORTS MARCH 2021: Supermarkets across the UK are joining in on the fight to help end period poverty, and are offering free sanitary products in stores.
Period poverty — not being able to afford sanitary products — affects people all over the globe as well as right here in the UK. The Royal College of Nursing says around 137,000 children across the UK have missed a day of school because of their periods. With school closures, poverty levels rising, and the pandemic impacting what’s in the shops, accessing period products has become even more of a challenge for young people especially.
In the pandemic alone, Plan UK found out that 11% of girls aged 14-21 have not been able to afford period products, and almost a quarter surveyed struggled to find them in shops at all. So if you or anyone is in need of free sanitary products, here’s how and where you can find them on UK and Ireland high streets.
Lidl Ireland has partnered with homeless charity Simon Community and Homeless Period Ireland to provide free pads and tampons to adults and children who need them. You can sign up for free monthly coupons through the Lidl Plus app, which will be distributed from May 3.
A new Morrisons’ initiative called “Ask for Sandy” allows customers who menstruate to discreetly access sanitary products from selected stores. The note which is found in certain shops reads: "Please don't feel shy. If you are in need or struggling for sanitary products go to our customer service kiosk (Next to Timpsons) and ask for a package that SANDY has left for you. You will then be given a FREE discreet envelope with what you need no questions asked."
Superdrug works closely with hygiene poverty charity, Beauty Banks, which operates on the belief that being clean is a basic human right. They’re working to make hygiene poverty a thing of the past and to extend access to menstrual products to those who need them. They have donation points in over 100 Superdrug stores across the UK making it really easy to do your bit in the fight against period poverty.