Renfrewshire Council is taking steps to tackle period poverty by providing free sanitary products for anyone who needs them in community venues.
Free sanitary products are now available in the toilets at Renfrewshire Leisure run Town Halls and libraries, and in the bathrooms and accessible toilets at its sports and leisure centres.
Nearly one in five women in Scotland have experienced period poverty, with 12% of girls saying they have resorted to using rags and socks during their time of the month.
Funding for the free sanitary products has been provided by the Scottish Government as part of its efforts to tackle period poverty in Scotland.
Councillor Michelle Campbell, Renfrewshire Council’s Young Persons Champion, said: “Period poverty affects people across Renfrewshire, with some having to choose between feeding themselves and their families, and buying sanitary products.
“We believe everyone has the right to a dignified life and we want to do everything we can to help anyone who finds themselves facing period poverty.
“The sanitary products we are putting into our community venues are free and available to anyone who needs them. Take whatever you need, whenever you need it.”
The council started offering free sanitary products in schools last year and supplies are also available in community groups, including STAR Project, Active Communities, Home-Start Renfrewshire, Renfrewshire Citizens Advice Bureau and Engage Renfrewshire, who can give to anyone who needs them.
Photo: (Left to Right) Cllr Michelle Campbell, Mags Gibson (co-ordinator at Home-Start Renfrewshire and Inverclyde), Jane Hamilton (co-ordinator at Home-Start Renfrewshire and Inverclyde), Cllr Lisa-Marie Hughes and Sally-Ann Bareford (volunteer at the STAR Project)
The distribution of products to community groups is carried out by FareShare.
Heather Kay, project coordinator at STAR Project, said: “We firmly believe no person should have to experience period poverty and therefore make sanitary products readily available in our toilets. We also give people the opportunity to take boxes of sanitary products from our Community Pantry.
“Being able to receive free sanitary products through the Fareshare scheme is fantastic. Our members have benefited from it, with one person recently commenting she ‘no longer dreads that time of the month where I need to decide between food or pads’.”
The launch of the products in Renfrewshire community facilities coincides with Challenge Poverty Week, which runs until Sunday 13th October.
The week aims to highlight the reality of poverty in Scotland and the work being done to tackle it, showcase the solutions to poverty and increase public support for action to solve it.
Chairperson of Renfrewshire Leisure, Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes said: “There is an increasing awareness of the impact period poverty has on the lives of many people in society.
“We share a responsibility to ensure everyone has a decent standard of living and at Renfrewshire Leisure we feel it’s important that free sanitary products are easily available to those who need them.
“Our sports and leisure facilities are popular places where many people go and we hope there will be a good uptake of the free products being made available.”
Other activities which have taken place in Renfrewshire during Challenge Poverty Week include the launch of STAR Project’s Community Fridge Recipe Book and a collection of toiletry products by Active Communities to highlight and tackle hygiene poverty.
If your community group would like to receive free sanitary products from the council they should contact FareShare by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org