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Suffolk Libraries offering free sanitary items to help fight period poverty

Pride & Periods

Suffolk Libraries is piloting providing free sanitary items, no questions asked, in ten different libraries.

The items have been donated by supporting organisations East of England Co-op, Pink Parcel and Bloody Good Period and can be requested by completing a simple, discreet form in the library and handing it to a member of staff.

The tampons and pads available are for all flows and preferences can be requested on the form. While exact matches and amounts can’t be guaranteed, staff will do their best to provide customers with what they request, or something similar.

Sarah Lungley, mental health and wellbeing coordinator, said: "We are absolutely thrilled to be able to launch Pride & Periods, and hope that it will help in the fight against period poverty in Suffolk. Affording the right kind of protection, or any at all, can be a real struggle for some and this can have a big effect on their life."

{% include /c/figure.html src="/images/featured/featured-pride-and-periods-launch.jpg" alt="Gail Kerrison, Sarah Lungley and Sharon Harkin at the Pride and Periods launch" caption="Gail Kerrison, Sarah Lungley and Sharon Harkin at the Pride and Periods launch" %}

"We also know that stigma surrounding periods can make it difficult for some women, or those from the transgender community, to access sanitary items and we hope that by offering free items through our libraries, we can help this. Pride & Periods is a no questions asked project."

Items are available from the following libraries:

We hope that other libraries will be involved in the near future. If you have any questions or would like to enquire about making donations, email sarah.lungley@suffolklibraries.co.uk

Research by Plan International has found that 1 in 7 girls struggle to afford sanitary items or have had to borrow from friends, more than 1 in 10 girls have had to improvise sanitary protection and 1 in 5 girls are using less suitable items due to lack of affordability.

A recent poll by Always has shown that girls and women experiencing period poverty miss school days, struggle to find employment and seem more likely to suffer with anxiety and depression.

Research has also shown that women can spend up to £18,000 during their lifetime on sanitary products, pain relief and comfort items. At up to £13 on average a month, many women cannot afford sanitary products, let alone items to help make their monthly experience more comfortable.