Suffolk Libraries extend free menstrual product scheme
- Credit: Suffolk Libraries
Suffolk Libraries has said the demand for its Pride and Periods scheme has increased significantly with library managers regularly asking for more stock to meet period poverty needs.
This news comes shortly after a WaterAid report revealed one in four people who menstruate in East Anglia worry they may not be able to afford period products in the future.
Suffolk Libraries is currently working on expanding its existing programme which is operating across 14 libraries and hope to provide the service across all 44 of its branches.
It is also in talks with Norfolk and Essex Libraries to support the imminent extension of the scheme across the whole of the East of England.
Suffolk Libraries deputy chief executive Krystal Vittles said: "Living in Suffolk, it's easy to forget about rural poverty and just focus on urban areas."
She said the latest expansion of their scheme for access to free period products can't happen soon enough because "the need is everywhere".
In order to support a swift expansion of the programme, they are partnering with menstrual equity charity Bloody Good Period and are in early discussions with The Hygiene Bank.
Suffolk Libraries is also working with Anglian Water to investigate sustainable period product possibilities.
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It will also be continuing to collaborate with the East of England Co-op which has supported the scheme by donating free menstruation items since it was launched in November 2018.
Gainsborough Library has successfully obtained a grant of £1000 from the Arnold Clark Community Fund to put towards the Pride and Periods scheme.
The grant will buy more items for the library's menstruation product stock and it will also be able to offer toilet rolls, shower gel, toothpaste, shampoo and deodorant.
Ms Vittles said: "We've now got a new mental health and wellbeing manager, so the project is really taking off."
Period products and tampons for all flows and preferences as well as maternity and bladder weakness pads can be requested from participating branches.
Those who wish to use the scheme can either complete a simple form in the library or ask to hold a discreet conversation with a member of staff.
Currently, participating libraries include: Broomhill, Bungay, Bury St Edmunds, Capel St Mary, Chantry, Felixstowe, Gainsborough Community, Haverhill, Ipswich County, Leiston, Newmarket, Oulton Broad, Stowmarket and Woodbridge.