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Council continues to tackle Period Poverty as new legislation comes into effect

Posted on 12 Aug 2022

Period poverty is a global issue.

As the Cost-Of-Living crisis escalates, regretfully the number of households struggling to afford the expense of period products is growing.

An average period lasts for up to five days and research indicates that the cost of period products is challenging for around one in five. Lack of access to period products then results in people missing out on work, school and social activities. No one wants a situation where unsuitable items are used.

Following a recent public consultation and informed by the Scottish Government’s free period products legislation* coming into effect nationwide on the 15 August, North Ayrshire Council has announced this week the renewal of its Period Dignity Strategy.

The Period Dignity Strategy runs alongside the Council’s Fair for All Strategy and Youth Participation Strategy, both of which are NAC’s mechanisms for taking into account residents’ lived experience and ensuring young people’s voices are heard, actioned and respected in North Ayrshire.

Council Leader and Chair of the Tackling Poverty Board Marie Burns commented: “North Ayrshire is fully committed to creating a fairer, more equal society.

“As the Cost-Of-Living crisis continues, we are acutely aware of the financial strain faced by citizens across North Ayrshire and beyond.

“Lack of suitable and hygienic supplies is a serious issue affecting so many across the country. Not only does this cause stress, anxiety and embarrassment, it also creates a barrier to enjoyment and participation in learning, workplace and recreational activities.

“In 2017, North Ayrshire Council was proud to become the first local authority in the UK to offer free period products in its schools, libraries, community centres and public buildings.

“Now with the Scottish Government’s free period products Act now coming into effect and all local authorities ready to do the same, the time is right to renew our Period Dignity Strategy and continue to improve access, ensuring that people who live, work or visit our local authority can continue to have dignified and inclusive access to a range of period products, when they need them.”

View North Ayrshire’s Period Dignity commitment statement and strategy here: https://tinyurl.com/PeriodDignityNAC

With a 12-step action plan to develop an even-better user experience across North Ayrshire’s six localities, the strategy has already informed a host of improvements.

These include:

  • The piloting of tote bags for school pupils to provide discrete products in toilet cubicles
  • Widening access points to include community larders
  • Addressing geographical gaps so that all local communities can benefit
  • Introducing sustainable samples of re-useable period products and more…

But the Council recognises that there is more to be done and is now leading open conversations with young people, community partners and some of the area’s most vulnerable residents to reduce the stigma and embarrassment associated with menstruation.

Councillor Burns added: “It is so important that we receive open and honest feedback so that we can identify the areas that are working well and establish improvements required to promote inclusion, break down barriers and ensure we are reaching into the heart of our communities. Our aim is to build a North Ayrshire that is Fair for All where no one is left behind.

“So whether you have already had the opportunity to access free period products or you have some good improvement ideas, please visit the webpage: Period Dignity North Ayrshire and continue to share your views with us.

“Remember, if you need help accessing period products, please speak to someone in our schools, community centrespublic libraries, or nearest community larder. If you have a smart phone, you can also download the ‘Pickupmyperiod’ app or visit: https://myperiodlive.azurewebsites.net/ which provides a map of access points across Scotland where people can collect free products

"You are not alone – we are here to do all that we can to help and have a range of free period products available to access discretely so you can feel confident, empowered and supported wherever you are in North Ayrshire.”