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Campaigners want free tampons and pads in all public buildings to stop ‘period poverty’

Period Poverty campaigners are petitioning Southwark Council and schools across the borough to provide free sanitary products in public buildings.

The ‘People Not Poverty’ group will hold a public meeting at Crossway Christian Centre on Hampton Street on Thursday, December 6, from 7pm to launch the petition. They hope to gain 1,500 signatures by February.

Not being able to afford sanitary products each month can lead to absences from work and school, embarrassing leaks and infections from not changing regularly enough or making do with toilet paper or even rags.

Bermondsey-based artist Georgina Hodges has made art out of sanitary products to raise awareness and help end the stigma of menstruation.

She told the News: “The fact that girls are having to use their socks in replacement of sanitary products or take days off of school because they cannot afford sanitary products emphasises the urgency of tackling this issue and making sanitary products more accessible especially for young girls.

“There is certainly a stigma surrounding periods, even in a girls school, many girls want to hide that they are on their period in school time.”

Southwark Council’s Evelyn Akoto, cabinet member for community safety and public health, said: “Southwark Council works with a number of charities that tackle this issue in our schools where the effects of period poverty are most keenly felt and we are looking at how we can increase our support for charities with expertise in this area.

“This is an issue that is close to the hearts of many people here at the council, for example our women’s network has recently carried out a number of collections for Red Box and will be doing so again shortly.”

To find out more and sign the petition, email peoplenotpoverty@gmail.com

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