Hey Girls Period Poverty

This blog post is from Amy Briggs on Hey Girls' response to period poverty during Covid-19.

Hey Girls is a social enterprise based in Scotland, on a mission to end period poverty in the UK.  We launched in 2018, by founder and CEO Celia Hodson and her two daughters Kate and Becky. It all started with a heated discussion that resulted in a simple goal – how to tackle ‘period poverty’ in a sustainable way.  A Plan UK study published in 2018 showed that 1 in 10 women and girls in the UK find themselves living in period poverty every month, unable to afford products to manage their periods.
Hey Girls operates on a buy one give one model, so for every product sold we match donate period products to donation partners across the UK.  We work with many different charitable organisations, womens shelters community groups and service providers to get period products to people that may be hard to reach.
In 2018, we began working with the Scottish Government to deliver free period products to schools and colleges for the free provision bill, we now work with most local authorities across Scotland.
When the country was forced into lockdown back in March, we had some thinking to do about the way that Hey Girls operates, coming up with innovative solutions to keep our social enterprise moving and more importantly getting period products out to the community to those most in need.  We now know that the economic impact is likely to be very damaging to households across the country, this will inevitably lead to more people making tough decisions about if they can afford period protection.
Previously we had been delivering large orders to schools, colleges and universities across the UK so that products were readily available for students to access when they need it.  But lockdown meant that this service would no longer be useful to students unable to access the physical building.
We launched Hey Girls Home Packs to combat this.  The idea being to continue to provide for the students as before, but instead of accessing products in a university toilet or facility they have the products sent directly to their home address.  A pack can vary in contents, but provides enough period products to cover at least 3 months of periods. 
Since launch of the scheme over 177,000 products in home packs have been sent to people’s homes – eliminating any stress about finding or affording products.
“The deliveries build upon the fantastic work carried out by the University cleaning supervisors and student-led Bleedin’ Saor team to ensure all students have access to free period products.”  Edinburgh Napier College
“It’s a fantastic initiative during a very difficult time for many of students and staff.”  South Lanarkshire College
We are continuing conversations with educational settings across the country about how we work together to provide period protection to students in the new term.  Some institutions are keen to continue with the Home Pack model, as they then know that students are getting exactly the products that they need when they need them.  Others are beginning to think about stocking products in their washrooms for when students return to campuses.

Further Period Poverty Resources from EAUC

Period Poverty: What Is It & How Can We Help? - Discover additional resources here.
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