The price of period products in the UK is no joke. On average we women spend £13 pounds a month on sanitary products plus an additional £21 per month on period related items, including new underwear (due to spillages), pain relief and chocolate/sweets/crisps.
This means that per year, each of us is spending around £408 on having a period, and over a lifetime - during which the average woman has 480 periods - £195,840, a sum which many of us can not afford!
Periods are an essential biological function, so you shouldn't be paying for your period pads, tampons, or sustainable period products of choice at a luxury rate or ideally - as many period poverty campaigners argue - at all!
With this in mind, Bloody Good Period this week's Really Wellness podcast guest has worked with us to create a list of places you can access period products for no cost and shame free...
Local community organisations
One in ten girls in the UK can not afford period products and one in seven have struggled to afford them at some point. In line with this most local councils and community services, including food banks provide period products for free.
If you are ever in a position where you can't or are having difficulty affording period products you can easily search for the location of your local council here, your local community services here, or your local food bank here, and pop in to get the essentials you need.
There are two supermarkets in the UK and Ireland that deserve a gold star for supporting people who menstruate by offering free period products, Morrisons and Lidl. Although there is a limited local selection, it's a positive step in the right direction that hopefully more supermarkets will follow soon.
Morrisons' “Ask for Sandy” initiative enables shoppers to access free sanitary products at customer service kiosks in selected stores by asking for a package that SANDY has left for them. Once you ask for your package from Sandy you are then given a FREE discreet envelope with what you need, no questions asked.
Lidl Ireland is doing its bit for those of us who menstruate by partnering with homeless charity Simon Community and Homeless Period Ireland to give free pads and tampons to any one who needs them. Download the Lidl Plus app, to claim a dedicated coupon for a free box of sanitary pads or tampons every month.
Did you know that nearly two million girls in the UK miss school because of their period? This is because of a lack of proper education around periods, the stigma and shame around menstruation and also the cost of period products.
To combat this, the Department of Education has set up the 'period product scheme for schools and colleges in England' which provides students who menstruate with free period products. The scheme is available to all state schools, each school simply needs to contact Personal Hygiene Services LTD (the Department of Education's partner service) to be provided regularly with a range of period products at no cost .
Tricky period a.k.a The Tricky Period Project is a grassroots group based in the UK who collaborates withlocal libraries, stations and other community spaces to provide period products to those experiencing homelessness and poverty.
Their philosophy - and rightly so - is that absolutely no-one should have to choose between food and a period pad. So, if you can not afford period products, Tricky Period are here to help. You can find their pick up points for period products here all of which can be accessed by anyone in need whether or not you have an address, proof of income or any links with the pick up point venue.
Bloody Good Period
Last but certainly not least, are this week's Really Wellness podcast guest, Bloody Good Period. Bloody Good Period do so much good work fighting for menstrual equity and the rights of all people who bleed, including delivering free period products to those who need them.
The organisation has over 100 partners across England and Wales, including organisations supporting refugees and asylum-seekers, charities for the homeless, food banks, Covid response community groups and others. They place bulk orders with suppliers who deliver period products directly to their partners’ centres and from there, the products are given to the people who need them.
Their relationships with partners are long-term relationships, so they can guarantee that products are available every month which means that no one who needs them goes without.
You Deserve a Better Period For Free
If you are based in the U.K. like me, please remember there is no shame in a) having a period, b) needing support with the essentials to have your period and get on with your day to day life. You are entitled to access free period products if and whenever you struggle to afford them and all of the resources above are open and willing to give you what you need. If you aren't based in the UK there are lot's of organisations globally who offer the same support and many countries who have developed similar initiatives to the UK to ensure no one goes without on their period.