In an effort to address period poverty sustainably, Plymouth Soroptimists have secured a £10,000 grant from the National Lottery. The funds will be utilized to supply “period pants” to vulnerable women, including abuse survivors, those with care experience, individuals recovering from addiction, ex-offenders, and those dealing with debt and homelessness.
The initiative is set to benefit over 300 women, each receiving six pairs of period pants. Period poverty, defined as the inability to afford sanitary protection products when needed, is a pervasive issue affecting over one-third of girls aged 14-21 in the UK. Shockingly, more than a million girls have faced challenges in accessing or affording menstrual products, resulting in 137,700 girls missing school in the past year due to period poverty.
The ‘Pants to Period Poverty’ campaign is not only a timely response to the persistent issue but also an environmentally conscious one. With mainstream sanitary products being approximately 90% plastic and non-biodegradable, taking up to 800 years to decompose, the campaign seeks to provide a practical and eco-friendly solution to the problem.
On January 12, an MP for Plymouth Moor View joined Plymouth Soroptimists in a presentation ceremony to mark the receipt of the £10,000 grant. The MP, who has been participating in the Plymouth Half Marathon annually since election in 2015, supports Trevi, the main distribution partner of the scheme.
Speaking about the initiative, the MP stated, “Recognition should be given to the admirable work that Plymouth Soroptimists do across the city. No woman should have to worry about access to menstrual products. Thanks to the National Lottery Funding, a positive difference will be made to the lives of over 300 women in Plymouth.”
A Soroptimist and Campaign Leader expressed joy at the prospect of helping women facing challenges in affording period products. She said, “We’re thrilled that we’ll be able to assist many women struggling to pay for period products while simultaneously encouraging a sustainable, long-term solution to end the use of disposable pads and tampons. We are immensely grateful to national lottery players who have made this initiative possible.”
Despite the UK Government’s recent decision to abolish VAT on period products starting from January 1, 2024, period poverty persists as a significant barrier for many women. The National Lottery Funding is, therefore, a crucial step in addressing this issue and supporting women in need.
The Plymouth Soroptimists’ initiative aligns with a broader national concern regarding the well-being of women and girls. By providing free period pants to those in vulnerable situations, the campaign aims not only to alleviate immediate challenges but also to contribute to a sustainable, long-term solution for menstrual health and hygiene.
The campaign has received widespread support from the community, emphasizing the shared commitment to eradicating period poverty and fostering environmentally responsible practices. As the ‘Pants to Period Poverty’ campaign unfolds, it stands as a testament to the power of grassroots initiatives in making a meaningful impact on the lives of those in need.