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
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.
Plant a seed and watch it grow. This is how we view The Red Box Project.
Whilst, it is always at the forefront of our minds that growth equates to need; a need that should not exist in our society, we stand proud that we have been able to provide support to a wide-range of educational settings and youth clubs.
Over 5,000 active red boxes, filled with a range of products our young people know and feel comfortable using.
Each red box tells a story but at the roots are our volunteer coordinators. They are the heart of our project. Fitting in time within their already jam packed day to create boxes filled with love and kindness. The relationships they have built up with members of staff is something that brings us the most amount of joy and the feedback from both teachers and students tells us that we are helping in a practical way.
Thank you to every single person who commits time to being part of our team and to every person who supports the projects in their community. Every single donation makes the hugest difference.
Practical activism works and mix that up with humility and collaboration and you have something very special.
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.
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!
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!
We truly had no idea of what path laid before us in terms of firstly, the magnitude of the issue we were tackling and secondly, the truly incredible number of people who felt as outraged as we were and wanted to stand up and act.
This week is one of our favourite weeks because it highlights the contributions made by volunteers across the UK and is our chance to say to each and every person involved in this project: thank you. Thank you for giving up your time. Thank you for caring so deeply about other people in your communities. Thank you for building this project and shaping it into the joyous and effective initiative that it is today. We have each other’s back and those of the thousands of young people we support in educational settings and youth clubs across the country.
There are no words that would give how I feel, the justice they deserve. I really could not have given my life to this project without the love and support of all of the volunteer coordinators involved in The Red Box Project and you have shown myself and others that kindness and commitment really do make a bloody difference.
Following the most recent roundtable discussion, in which we were in attendance at the Department for Education, we wanted to update you all on the future of the Red Box Project – please see below for details.
The specifics of the Government’s scheme are still to be confirmed. We will be working really hard to secure a comprehensive, meaningful provision, that enables every child to access the period products they need, and the education that is their right.
We will keep you all posted. And in the meantime, thank you for your continuing support.
The Red Box Project are thrilled with
the news that the Department for Education’s funding for free menstrual
products in England’s secondary schools and colleges will be extended to cover
primary schools. They now call upon the Government to enshrine
their policy in legislation, and ensure that all children in
full-time compulsory education are supported, including those studying in pupil
referral units and special educational settings, ensuring that
period poverty in all of England’s schools becomes a matter of history.
Anna Miles, co-founder of the Red Box
Project said, “We are delighted that the Department for Education has
listened to our concerns about the scope of this policy and has extended
funding to include primary schools. Our experience at the Red Box Project has
shown us that girls as young as 8 or 9 can experience period poverty. No child
should miss out on their education because they have their period, irrespective
of their age. “
Clegg Bamber, co-founder of the Red Box
Project and director of Free Periods added, “At the Red Box
Project, more than a third of our boxes of free period products are provided to
primary schools – that’s well over 1,000 – so we know that there is a huge need
to support children at this age. We are glad that the Government has heard the
pleas of the Red Box Project, Free Periods and other activists, and will lift
this arbitrary restriction on its funding. All children in full-time compulsory
education should be supported.“
Gemma Abbott, coordinator for the Red
Box Project and director of Free Periods concluded, “We are glad that
the Government has seen sense and extended funding to include primary schools;
we now need to ensure this policy covers all children in full-time compulsory
education, including pupil referral units and other special education settings.
We also need to see this enshrined in legislation, so that this funding is not
vulnerable to the political whims of future governments. This is a chance to
end period poverty, for the children of today and tomorrow. Let’s take it.“
About the Red Box Project
The Red Box Project is a nationwide, community-powered
initiative to ensure that no young person misses out on their education because
they have their period and lack access to menstrual products.
The Red Box Project started 2 years ago,
in Portsmouth, and now has more than 3750 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.
Ministers from the Welsh Government have today announced that all primary and secondary schools will be provided with free menstrual products and underwear in the form of a £2.3m grant which will be rolled out to councils who will deliver the scheme into all schools in their area.
Encouraged by this and last year’s announcement from the Scottish government who pledged to provide the same support across all schools, colleges and universities we hope that government see the progressive moves made by our neighbours and extend their current commitment to cover ALL compulsory education settings.
We remain hopeful. It would be incomprehensible to accept a scheme that does not include support for younger children, in primary schools, who menstruate and indeed have the same barriers attached to accessing products as their counterparts.
We have to build a society that our youngest citizens feel connected with. We do this by letting them know that we care about them; that their contribution to the world is important and should not ever be held back by biology.
It gives us a huge amount of pride to announce that our incredible volunteer coordinator, Samara Barnes, has been awarded: Rossendale Woman of the Year for the truly inspiring commitment she has given to supporting others in our community.
Samara contacted us just over a year ago. At the time, she was 40 weeks pregnant and wanted to get involved in The Red Box Project after listening to a Guilty Feminist podcast which discussed the issues around period poverty. Passionate from the start, Samara, is someone you want on your team. As well as being kind, committed, driven and passionate she is also one of the most brilliant people you could hope to meet. Kind to the core.
A year into the project and Samara now coordinates and supports a whooping 57 educational settings; including, primary schools, secondary schools, colleges and youth clubs. She has galvanised her generous community into action and has 20 donation drop off points established. A number which is ever growing, as more and more people want to help and support the work Samara is doing.
This project was founded on kindness and respect for others. Samara lives by that ethos every day, supporting other coordinators as they begin their new projects and offering help and wise words to those that need it, including us!
Samara, you are the epitome of all that is good in the world. Selfless in your efforts to help other people and we are so overjoyed to see that you have been recognised for all that you do.
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