Roll-out of the Governments Period Products Scheme

We’re absolutely thrilled that, from Monday 20th January, every state-funded school and college in England will be able to order free period products for their students.

We have never expected young people to pack their own toilet roll or soap in their schoolbags; it is only right that these equally essential items are also freely available.

Having access to free period products in school can have a huge impact on a young person’s ability to participate in their education, and so to reach their full potential. For some, this new scheme could even mean the difference between attending school or staying at home when they have their period.

That’s why we have teamed up with Free Periods to urge every school and college in England to sign up to the Government’s new scheme.

This is an amazing opportunity to achieve greater equality in our education system, but we need every eligible institution to use its allocated funding and make period products freely available to their students as soon as possible.

The time has come: let’s join the Period Revolution!

2019: That’s a Wrap!

As we enter into the festive season, there is a natural break in our operations and a chance to reflect on what has been an incredible year for the Red Box Project.

We left 2018 with news that Scotland had rolled out a free period products scheme, funded by the Scottish Government, for all schools, colleges, and universities. Incredible, right? Wales also acknowledged period poverty and allocated £1mil of funding to welsh local authorities to explore period product provision as well as identifying and exploring potential resolutions for the stigma attached to periods.

The Red Box Project entered into 2019 with the ambition of reaching more young people, ensuring that no one missed out on their education due to having their period. We started the year with some amazing people who volunteered and showed brilliant dedication to running their local Red Box Projects and the Red Boxes we had out in educational settings was a true testament to this. The Red Box Project was off to a great start for 2019!

Towards the end of January, the Red Box Project partnered with the #FreePeriods campaign, founded by Amika George, to bring forward a legal challenge to the Government ensuring that they complied with their obligations of the Equalities Act 2010, within education.

As we entered into March 2019, it was International Women’s Day which our volunteer coordinators, up and down the country, got involved with events, talks and celebrations! It was also quite a big week for Government announcements in the world of all things periods!

The week was started with the Minister for Women and Equalities, Rt. Hon. Penny Mordaunt MP, announcing that the Government would be convening a task force for to investigate and explore the issue of period poverty. The task force was to be made up of public, private and third sector organisations who had expertise in period poverty. It was also announced, in the same week, that people who are in-patients in NHS hospitals would also have free period products available for them to use for the duration of their stay. This policy was further extended to cover people who had been detained and remained in police custody, they too would have access to the period products they require. We are sure you will agree, these were all positive steps forward to achieving a country that has resolved period poverty.

The following week, after International Women’s Day had been, brought some amazing news for the Red Box Project. Our campaigning and push to drive about change had been heard and on 13th March 2019, at the hearing of the Spring Statement, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that funding would be made available for period products to be accessible in all schools and colleges. This day marked an amazing 2 years for the project!


Upon further analysis of the announcement, it was discovered that the new scheme would be available to secondary schools and colleges in England. This is an England only policy as education is a devolved matter to the other administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. We continue to campaign to ensure that primary schools would also have access to the products they need and in April 2019, the Minister for Children and Families announced that the provision would be extended to cover young people in primary schools, too! Another fantastic achievement for the Red Box Project!

Since this announcement, the Red Box Project has been engaging and working with the Department for Education, the government department responsible for the delivery of the period products scheme, to ensure that this scheme is as successful as it can be.
The new policy scheme, that will see the provision of period products made available in all primary and secondary schools, as well as colleges, in England will be rolled out in January 2020.

So, what does this now mean for the Red Box Project? We are sure you will agree, it has been a triumphant year for everyone involved with the Red Box Project. 2019 will definitely be remembered for the year the Red Box Project brought about change! The Red Box Project has always been clear of our aim, to ensure no young person misses out on their education due to their period. So, with this in mind, the HQ team took the strategic decision to wind down our operations gradually towards January 2020, allowing for the Government’s new scheme to be rolled out and benefit young people.

As the year has progressed and the impact of our work and the message behind it has spread beyond Great Britain. We now have projects in the US, Canada, Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Isle of Man, Jersey, Germany, Poland, Monaco, Tanzania, Japan and New Zealand! We are very touched that our work has managed to reach this far around the world and it is a real honour to work with such amazing and determined people!


The Red Box Project will continue to support international projects as much as we can. Our ambition of seeing a world where no young person misses out on their education because they have their period is coming ever closer to be achieved!

Anna, Clegg, and everyone who has volunteered with the Red Box Project over the past two and a half years would like to express our gratitude and sincere thanks for your tireless and continued support. None of the achievements that we have seen in 2019 would have been possible without you supporting your local project. So, truly from the bottom of our hearts, a huge thank you!

We wish you a very happy and merry festive break and all the very best for the New Year ahead!

With best wishes, as ever,

Red Box Project HQ ❤️

The Red Box Project partners with Fit4Life

This week, the Red Box Project launched a partnership with the community interest company, Fit4Life.

Fit4Life focus on positively changing the lives of young people aged between 12-18 years old, from areas of deprivation, and also those that are not in mainstream education. They do this by developing interventions not for young people but with young people – giving young people a voice.

Given the two remits of both Fit4Life and the Red Box Project, we’re sure you’ll agree it’s a good partnership to embark on

2 Years on: From then to Now

The growth of this project from our early days to now is huge.⁣⁣ ⁣⁣

Like us, our volunteer coordinators and supporters would not accept that young people were often missing out on their education because they did not have access to the menstrual products they needed. They stood up and decided to make a real difference to others in their communities.⁣⁣ ⁣⁣

Looking at the 63775% increase in boxes over the past year it goes to show what the power of practical activism can achieve. Sticking firmly to our ethos and providing a support network which brings together communities in the most positive way, to deal with a serious issue, have all been instrumental to our growth as well as the increasing need from the schools, colleges and youth clubs who contact us. ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣

We are voluntary run and it is down to hard work and commitment that we are able to provide this incredible level of support. Additionally, we never forget the positive effects of kindness and support within our own project.⁣⁣ ⁣⁣

Thank you to every single person who has played a part and created real change within The Red Box Project’s aims. Humanity at its absolute best.⁣⁣

Always and Tampax donate to the Red Box Project

The amazing Always UK & Ireland and Tampax UK and Ireland have donated an incredible one million pads to us as part of their #EndPeriodPoverty campaign!

In July 2018, the Red Box Project partnered with Always as part of their #InstaPoets campaign and received 100,00 products from the company. Furthering this, the partnership continued and saw influencers go into schools and speak to young people about periods, along with our Red Box Project coordinators, and highlighting the Red Box Project exists in their schools.

Credit : Always UK and Ireland Instagram

Always and Tampax have since donated a further 1 million products to the Red Box Project which have been reaching projects around the country this week and our coordinators can’t wait to get them distributed out into schools!

Thank you so much to Always, Tampax and everyone behind the scenes who have helped organise this unbelievable donation!

National Volunteers Week 2019

As the annually celebrated National Volunteers week drew to a close we shared a video of the testament that our Volunteers are to the Red Box Project.

The amount of effort, energy and courage that they each put into their local projects every day. Every volunteer is playing their part in ensuring that no young person misses out on their education due to having their period.

Finally, a huge THANK YOU to all our volunteers, past and present, that have enabled the Red Box Project to become what it is today!

A Big Day in the Fight Against Period Poverty – But Our Work Is Not Yet Done.

We are delighted that Philip Hammond has announced in his Spring Statement a commitment to funding menstrual products in secondary schools and colleges, but we argue that this policy must be extended to include all children in full-time compulsory education, such as those in primary schools.

Anna Miles, founder of the Red Box Project said: “This is a testament to the huge commitment of our coordinators on the ground and the unstoppable energy of many activists, in particular, the incredible team behind the #FreePeriods campaign, of which we are very proud to be a part. However, we know from our work, in thousands of schools across the UK, that the need for free menstrual products exists for all children in full-time compulsory education, including those in primary school. We hope to see furthercommitment from the Government in meeting the needs of all children who menstruate, regardless of their age. Every child should have an equal opportunity to participate in their education; this is their fundamental human right.


Gemma Abbott, Director of Free Periods and coordinator for The Red Box Project added: “We are so glad that the Government has at last recognised its responsibility for addressing this inequality in schools, although we need to see a coherent policy that covers all full-time compulsory education settings, not just secondaries and colleges. For example, children can start menstruating as young as 8 or 9, so it is essential that primary schools are supported. It is also vital that there is an ongoing, sustainable and ring-fenced funding commitment, enshrined in legislation. Let’s take this amazing opportunity to ensure that no child will ever again have to miss out on their education because they cannot access the menstrual products they need.

Given the limited scope of today’s announcement, therefore, the #FreePeriods legal campaign remains ongoing – and we are ready to hold the Government to account. If you would like to continue to support us:
• please tweet Philip Hammond (Chancellor), Penny Mordaunt (Minister for Women and Equalities) and Damian Hinds (Secretary of State for Education), who will be the architects of the scheme, to let them know that you support the #FreePeriods campaign for free provision of menstrual products for ALL children, including those at primary school; and
• please do continue to share this page (www.crowdjustice.com/case/freeperiods) and donate if you can!

Thank you, as always, for your incredible support. Together, we have made a real difference.

This is a chance to end period poverty, for all children. Let’s take it.

Free Periods: Amika George, teenage ‘period poverty’ activist and campaigner, launches new legal campaign for free menstrual products in schools

Today, Amika George, Founder of Free Periods and ‘period poverty’ activist, has announced a new legal campaign to provide free menstrual products to all schoolchildren. The campaign launches with a Crowdfunding drive to raise funds for exploratory legal work and in support of the broader legal campaign, with the requirement that £10k must be raised in 30 days for any of the pledges to be collected.

The Free Periods campaign, in partnership with the Red Box Project and supported by The Pink Protest, seeks to ensure that menstrual products should be freely available in schools to all children who need them. Access to education is a fundamental human right, and Free Periods believes that no child should be forced to miss school as a result of not being able to afford pads or tampons.

Free Periods is being advised by the human rights team at Law firm Hausfeld & Co. This new legal campaign follows the one year anniversary of the Free Periods protest to end period poverty, where over 2,000 people gathered outside Downing Street to call out the UK government’s failure to take action against period poverty.

In the UK, 49% of girls have missed an entire day of school because of their period, whilst 1 in 10 young women (aged 14-21) have been unable to afford period products. In London alone, 80,000 young women 1 and girls are affected by period poverty.

2018 saw significant progress for the cause in Britain, with the Scottish government becoming the first national government ever to provide free access to menstrual products in all schools, colleges and universities, whilst in Wales, the government pledged £1m to address period poverty. In England, we still have no policies in place.

The campaign also launches with a film made by Emmy-award winning filmmaker, Lina Plioplyte, featuring Amika and ten schoolgirls from London.

Amika George, Founder of Free Periods commented: “I am tired of the government’s inaction and so, just over one year on from our Free Periods protest to Parliament, I am proud to launch a legal campaign, calling on the UK government to provide free, universally accessible menstrual products in schools and colleges. With support from others, we are confident that we can bring positive change to our communities by offering young girls access to the menstrual products they need in order to participate in their education, which is their fundamental human right.”

Anna Miles, Co-Founder of the Red Box Project and director of Free Periods, added: “We are proud to provide thousands of schools with red boxes of free period products. This is made possible by the kindness and generosity bestowed upon us by local communities across the UK and the hard work of our over 200 volunteer coordinators. But access to education should not rely on the kindness of others. It is time for the government to step up.”

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/freeperiods/


To support the campaign visit the Free Periods crowdfunding page: https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/freeperiods/

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP?
Share the CROWDJUSTICE PAGE:
Share the FREE PERIODS POSTERS on social media and post about our goal.

Here is an example:
‘#FreePeriods launches new legal campaign to make sure that no child misses school because of their period. Be a part of this change. Find out how to get involved here: www.crowdjustice.com/case/freeperiods’

Visit the Free Periods website for more information on the campaign.

WHO ARE FREE PERIODS?

Amika George
Amika founded #FreePeriods when she was 17. Now 19 and at university, she has received global
recognition for her campaigning work, including receiving a Goalkeepers award by Bill & Melinda Gates,
in conjunction with the United Nations, and was recently listed by TIME magazine as one of the 25 most
influential teenagers in the world in 2018.


The Pink Protest

The Pink Protest is a community of feminist activists committed to engaging in action and supporting each other
. Founded by Scarlett Curtis, Grace Campbell, Alice Skinner and Honey Ross, they organise events and campaigns allowing young people to get involved with real, grassroots activism.

The Red Box Project

The Red Box Project’s Anna Miles, Clegg Bamber and Gemma Abbott The Red Box Project is a national community project working to provide free access to period products in
local schools. The Red Box Project has over 200 projects run by volunteer coordinators across the UK and is committed to supporting young people to access period products until the government steps in.


Janvi Patel
Chairwoman and co-founder of Halebury , a pioneering NewLaw firm, and advisory board member of Equality Now.

For further information on the campaign, please contact Amika George at freeperiodscampaign@gmail.com

The Red Box Project Reaches 2000 Active Red Boxes in the UK

The Red Box Project started 21 months ago, in Portsmouth, and now has 2,000 active Red Boxes in schools and other educational settings across the UK, ensuring young people have access to menstrual products whenever they need them – no questions asked.

How does it work?

The Red Box Project encourages individuals in the local community to support a Red Box in a school near them, working together to keep it filled with period products and spare underwear. 

The Red Box is easily accessible through appropriate members of staff and plain bags are included for discretion. Posters placed in lavatories and changing rooms signpost the box, its contents and location. Access to the Red Box is available to everyone, no questions asked.

Open discussions are encouraged between teachers and students about the subject of periods generally, and the availability of period products via the Red Box specifically.

Why is it needed?

Period poverty is prevalent. The latest research from children’s charity Plan International UK reports that one in 10 young women (aged 14-21) have been unable to afford period products. And poverty is just one issue that may affect a person’s access to period products. There are varied social and cultural reasons why products might not be available at home, many of which are linked with the stigma that persists around menstruation.

Overstretched teachers already take on the responsibility of helping pupils in need and schools keep small stocks of menstrual items for emergencies.  The problem is that limited budgets mean they are usually able to hand out just a couple at a time, sometimes even having to charge students per product.

The Red Box supports young people throughout their period with as many menstrual products as they need, plus the added reassurance of a few left over to prevent a panic next month. Of course, periods happen during the school holidays too and so students are encouraged to take extra for times when school is closed. Coordinators also place Red Boxes in appropriate settings such as youth clubs, libraries and church halls which are accessible all year round. This is what makes the project special.

What is the impact?

No tearful panics in the loo.  No wrapped-up toilet roll.  No anxious embarrassment.  No missed lessons or staying at home. 

No missed education.

The Red Box Project is powered by community kindness and focused solely on supporting young people.  It is designed to be a simple, no frills scheme to meet a need with minimal fuss. 

Castle View Academy in Portsmouth has said since the scheme was introduced it had helped increase attendance levels by nearly a third. [https://goo.gl/ki7tV5]

 


Anna Miles, Co-founder of the Red Box Project, commented:

“A young woman’s education will shape her future.  We are determined that this will be the last generation of girls to suffer the indignity and embarrassment of period poverty.

“When we started this project, the need for the provision was clear to us. Within 3 months we had 6 boxes and by the end of 2017, 9 months in we had 35 boxes. By the end of 2018, just one year later, we will have over 2000. It’s incredible.

“The support we have received to date has been amazing. If you want to get involved in providing menstrual products to young people in your community, please do get in touch with us. We would love to hear from you”

 

A teacher from a school that has a Red Box commented:

“Our girls are no longer whispering, ‘miss, do you have some pads’. Our girls are not having to decide between buying lunch or sanitary protection. They feel loved and supported”

 

To coordinate or support a Red Box please contact us:

redboxprojectuk@gmail.com