The Red Box Project is a nationwide community initiative, set up to ensure no young woman or girl misses school due to lack of access to adequate period products.
Even today, Period Poverty affects 1 in 10 young women and girls. Our local areas are not immune to this. The Red Box Project coordinator for Harrogate, Knaresborough and Nidderdale, Jay Kelly, has managed to get boxes full of sanitary products and new underwear into our local secondary schools and college.
These include Rossett, Harrogate High, Harrogate Grammar, St Aiden’s St John Fishers, King James, Nidderdale High, Springwater School, Harrogate College, and are filling up the final box for Forest School.
There are approximately 30 donation locations at present, and more are welcomed. Especially supermarkets and large business parks, which make it easy for regular donations to be dropped off.
The local community has been just incredible with their kind and generous donations. Jay, a local business owner and mother of 4 daughters, set up and is coordinating our local Red Box Project with her 17 year-old daughter Thea.
After the initial work of getting the donation locations in place, and the boxes in schools, the essential part is now over to our community – sustainability. For this to really work for those in need, we need to keep the 10 boxes filled up, so the girls know there is always something for them.
Jay would love to see smaller boxes in primary schools too, but first needs to make sure we can keep the 10 boxes consistently filled before adding more!
It has just been announced that the market leading brand, Always, are backing The Red Box Project in their #endperiodpoverty campaign, which is really great news, and will help supply thousands of pads across the UK, but the community donations are still the focus for the team.
There is now also a coordinator on board for the Ripon area, and we will soon have more information on our Facebook page as this progresses too.
So what does ‘not having access to adequate sanitary products’ actually mean to these girls? Many girls skip school when they have their periods as it is easier to deal with at home. Many double up on pants, use toilet roll or use an individual period product for far too long, which in the case of tampons is a TSS risk (Toxic Shock Syndrome/Septicemia).
We have heard the lines such as “surely they can get to the supermarket for the value products?”… but what if they can’t. For many, it would not work out. It may require a bus journey, or more time or energy than they have free to give. And so they make do. And ‘making do’ is not good enough. Some don’t have a spare pound to spend. Some people are just too embarrassed. Removing the stigma attached to periods is another area we hope to make a difference to, even just by talking about it. Half of our population menstruates. It is part of our natural life.
All schools have posters up in the girls’ toilets so they know they can go and take what they need, with no stigma or judgement attached. This is useful not only for young people living in poverty, but for those with a parent or parents who do not provide what they need for whatever reason.
As this project needs sustainability, and all boxes have been filled by public donations, we need people to keep dropping packs off at the donation points that we have set up.
Can you buy an extra pack when you buy your own products? Or occasionally spare some money for a pack of pants?
Donation locations are updated on The Red Box Harrogate’s Facebook page. Please follow, and share to help spread the word, so those who need the support, find it.
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Email us at: email@example.com or find out more about the nationwide initiative here.