Words by Smiley Team
Periods do not stop for pandemics, and neither does period poverty which affects people up and down the country. In response to this, the Scottish-based social enterprise Hey Girls has been working even harder to tackle the issue as the economic impact of COVID-19 becomes clearer and clearer.
Founded by Celia Hodson and her daughters Kate and Becky in 2018, Hey Girls has been working with local authorities, schools and colleges in Scotland and since 2020 in Wales to deliver free period products to students, constituents and service users. Products were made widely available in 2020 in Scottish public spaces.
As soon as the lockdown came into place, Hey Girls had to be innovative to make sure that products were able to reach those in need in a different way. Working with local authorities, schools and colleges they have been delivering home packs directly to people’s homes during the pandemic, initially with enough products to provide period protection for 3 months.
Before the global pandemic, a study by Plan UK found that 1 in 10 girls and women in the UK are currently unable to afford period products from month to month resorting to sometimes using household items like socks, toilet roll or newspaper.
Since 2018 Hey Girls has been working with 37 local authorities, this new partnership innovation with 7 local authorities and 12 universities, colleges and initiatives UK wide has seen 3667 individual home packs sent directly to people’s properties during Covid-19.
Not only have the home packs meant that more women and girls have access to period products, but many councils and education settings have opted for offering reusable products to their service users. This has seen a rise in people trying more sustainable and environmentally friendly methods to manage their periods.
“We don’t believe anyone should be denied access to period products, during a global pandemic or not” said Celia Hodson, Founder Hey Girls. “Access to period products is a human right, yet sadly there is still work to be done across the UK to recognise this.
It’s been incredible to witness, however, the acknowledgement from so many local authorities and educational institutes that this issue is so important, especially during Covid-19. Working with our partners to provide period protection during the Coronavirus Pandemic hopefully means that women and girls in these settings have one less thing to worry about and can feel confident whilst on their periods.”
We are working to expand this initiative across the UK, and welcome the opportunity to work with new councils, schools and colleges to keep everyone period protected during Covid-19.”
To find out more about Hey Girls and their work tackling period poverty, you can head to their website www.heygirls.co.uk.
By Ellen Jones