Girls and women in Cambridge will now be able to pick up free sanitary products at Arbury Court Library as part of a new Period Poverty initiative launched yesterday (18 July).
Period Poverty is when women don’t have access to basic sanitary products due to financial constraints, which can have a serious impact on their hygiene, health and wellbeing.
County Councillors Claire Richards and Jocelynne Scutt have worked with Cambridge City Council and Cambridge City Food Bank to launch the scheme in Arbury Court Library before expanding it to other public libraries in the city.
The library is a donation point where members of the public can donate sanitary items, as well as a collection point where women of all ages can come to pick up anything they need from a 'help yourself' box in the public toilet.
Cllr Jocelynne Scutt, County Councillor for Arbury, said: "This initiative is hugely welcome. We know that lacking sanitary products is having a serious impact on the education, work, health and general quality of life for thousands of women in the UK, and this is happening on our doorstep. Women of all ages should be able to focus on their education, work and future and not have to be worried about their period."
Cllr Claire Richards, County Council’s Area Community Champion for Cambridge said: “It is an important initiative to combat period poverty and to protect women's health, dignity and respect. From today members of the public can donate sanitary products at Arbury Court Library which are made available and can be accessed privately in the public toilet – no question asked. The scheme will be rolled out in more libraries across the city so that more women, of all ages and background, can benefit from it.”
Cllr Anna Smith, Cambridge City Council’s Executive Councillor for Communities, said: "No woman should be faced with a situation in which they are unable to access basic sanitary products because of their financial position. I am pleased that the council is supporting this important scheme. I hope lots of people will be able to make a donation which will be greatly appreciated by those in need."
Jon Edney, Cambridge City Food Bank Co-ordinator said: “We receive donations of sanitary products regularly and we make these available to Food Bank visitors. In addition, we are always looking for opportunities to ensure that they are available to others who find they are in need. This initiative will help that goal and is a further step to improve life for local women.”
Cambridgeshire Libraries are hosting similar schemes run by volunteers and providing essential toiletries in Ramsey and Yaxley Libraries.
Sanitary products are also available for free in Cambridge Community Centres, which are listed on https://www.cambridge.gov.uk/community-centres