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Council renews its Period Dignity Strategy

Period poverty is a global issue.

Back in March, Staff Talk shared news of the co-design of a new strategy to tackle Period Poverty in North Ayrshire.

Co-owned by Facilities Management and the Community Facilities Team, the ‘Period Dignity – North Ayrshire’ initiative has involved staff across both services working together over the past six months to strengthen and improve the existing operating model.

Carolyn Hope from Facilities Management shared:

“Period poverty is a global issue and as the Cost-Of-Living crisis continues to escalate, regretfully more households than ever before are struggling to afford period products.

“Following our recent Period Dignity public consultation and in-line with the Scottish Government’s free period products legislation which came into effect nationwide on the 15 August, we are proud to have recently announced the renewal of the Council’s Period Dignity Strategy.”

The Period Dignity Strategy runs alongside the Council’s Fair for All Strategy and Youth Participation Strategy.

Each of the strategies are working together as the Council’s mechanisms for taking into account residents’ lived experience and ensuring young people’s voices are heard, actioned and respected in North Ayrshire.

In 2017, North Ayrshire Council was proud to become the first local authority in the UK to offer free period products in its schools, libraries, community centres and public buildings. But the Council recognises that there is more to be done… This is why our Communities and Facilities Management teams are now leading open conversations with young people, community partners and some of the area’s most vulnerable residents to reduce the stigma and embarrassment associated with menstruation.

Donna Morrison, Community Facilities Manager commented: “As the Cost-Of-Living crisis continues, we are acutely aware of the financial strain faced by citizens across North Ayrshire and beyond. Lack of suitable and hygienic supplies is a serious issue. Not only does this cause stress, anxiety and embarrassment for those affected, it also creates a barrier to enjoyment and participation in learning, workplace and recreational activities.

“We decided that as the national free period products Act was coming into effect at the start of August, the time was right to renew our own strategy to continue to improve and provide free access to period products to ensure that people who live, work or visit our local authority can continue to have dignified and inclusive access to a range of period products, when they need them.”

With a 12-step action plan to develop an even-better user experience across North Ayrshire’s six localities, the strategy has already informed a host of improvements. Actions include the piloting of tote bags for school pupils to provide discrete products in toilet cubicles, widening access points to include community larders, addressing geographical gaps so that all local communities can benefit and the introduction of sustainable samples of re-useable period products to name just a few.

Donna adds: “Our aim, is to build a North Ayrshire that is fair and equal for all. So whether you have already had the opportunity to access free period products or you have some good improvement ideas, please visit the Period Dignity North Ayrshire webpage and continue to share your views and shape the strategy.”

“An average period lasts for up to five days and research indicates that the cost of period products is challenging for around one in five people. Lack of access to period products then results in people missing out on work, school and social activities. No one wants a situation where unsuitable items are used. This is why developing the strategy is so important.”

Carolyn Hope, Facilities Management

How to access support

Please remember, you are not alone. The Period Dignity team are on hand to do all that they can to help and continue to provide a range of free period products available to access discretely so that you can feel confident, empowered and supported wherever you are in North Ayrshire.

If you need help accessing period products, please don’t be afraid or embarrassed to access the Period Dignity service. You can do this by speaking to someone in our schools, community centrespublic libraries, or nearest community larder.

If you have a smart phone, you can also download the ‘Pickupmyperiod’ app or visit the My Period Live website which provides a map of access points across Scotland where people can collect free products.

Watch the video (below) for more on the ambitious improvement plans and view the renewed Period Dignity commitment statement and strategy online via the Period Dignity webpage:

For more information on the Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Act please visit the Scottish Government webpage.

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