Scheme which gives free sanitary products in libraries could be extended to museums

PUBLISHED: 10:03 11 July 2019 | UPDATED: 17:00 11 July 2019

The Tricky Period project was launched in 2017. Picture: Ian Burt

The Tricky Period project was launched in 2017. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2018

The success of a scheme which gives free sanitary products out in Norfolk’s libraries could be extended to other buildings, including museums.

The Duchess of Sussex. Pic: Chris Jackson/PA Wire/PA ImagesThe Duchess of Sussex. Pic: Chris Jackson/PA Wire/PA Images

The Tricky Period campaign was launched by Norfolk County Council in September 2017 because of concerns people who were on low incomes or who were homeless could not afford products.

There were also concerns that girls were playing truant from school because they could not afford sanitary products and did not want to ask hard-up parents for them.

The scheme runs in all 47 Norfolk libraries, including the mobile ones. Libraries collect donations of sanitary products from the general public and redistributes them through public toilets for girls and women in need.

Some libraries also provide boxes in other places, such as in the teenage section at the Millennium Library in Norwich.

And it has been such a success that, collectively, libraries in the county are distributing between 120 to 140 packs of sanitary products each month.

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At a meeting next week, members of County Hall's corporate select committee, will consider the next step, which could see sanitary products provided in other council buildings, including museums, County Hall and registrars offices.

In the report to councillors, officers state: "The stigma attached to menstrual issues, and the importance of addressing this stigma, to make it easier to talk about the issues, has been covered extensively by the national press and highlighted by public figures, such as the Duchess of Sussex.

"Bringing attention to the issues helps to address situations in which people affected by period poverty feel unable to confide in those around them, to the extent that this affects their ability to attend school or college."

The council does not currently have a budget to pay the estimated £3,125 per year to pay for the product.

Councillors could decide to look for a model based on donations, or would need to identify a stream of money within the council's budget.

However, to set up the model in the first place, councillors will be asked to agree a one-off budget provision of up to £5,000.

The committee will meet on Tuesday, July 16.

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