Aberdeen project providing free sanitary products extended

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A project to provide free sanitary products to women from low-income households in Aberdeen is to be extended.

The Scottish Government is making £12,000 available for the continuation of a pilot scheme run by social enterprise Community Food Initiatives North East (CFINE).

The funding will allow the project to continue until an evaluation is completed in the summer as well as covering testing of provision in the schools, college and university taking part.

The announcement coincided with a debate in the Scottish Parliament to mark International Women’s Day.

Equalities Secretary Angela Constance said: “The pilot in Aberdeen is helping us to better understand the barriers that some women face when it comes to accessing sanitary products and how we could make free products easily accessible to those who need them.

“Our six-month pilot in the north east is coming to an end, having successfully recruited over 1,000 women.

“I’m particularly encouraged by the interest the pilot has generated in reusable sanitary products which are environmentally friendly and financially sustainable.

“We have begun to analyse the information collected during the pilot and the final reports are expected over the summer.

“In the meantime, I’m pleased to announce that we will continue to make sanitary products available through Community Food Initiatives North East until we have the full results of the pilot.”

Meanwhile, Labour MSP Monica Lennon, who has been campaigning to end period poverty, has said the “time is right” for Holyrood to pass legislation to tackle the problem.

She said Scotland could “lead the world” on the issue by passing her member’s bill, which would create a new duty on ministers to introduce a universal system of free provision of sanitary products.

It would require schools, colleges and universities to provide free items for women and girls in their toilets.

A consultation revealed support of 96% for the proposals becoming law.

Ms Lennon said: “Proposals to end period poverty in Scotland have been met with overwhelming public support. The time is right to legislate – Scotland can lead the world on this.”

She added: “Access to sanitary products should be a basic right but sadly in Scotland we know not everyone can afford or obtain what they need.

“Given the level of support, I intend to move forward with a member’s bill which would introduce a legal duty on the Scottish Government to develop a universal system in Scotland which will provide free sanitary products for anyone who needs them.

“There should also be a statutory duty on schools, colleges and universities to provide free sanitary products in their toilets. Having your period shouldn’t result in anyone missing class.

“I hope my bill gains support from across the Holyrood chamber. This is bigger than party politics, this is about a fairer future for women and girls in Scotland.”

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