Red Box News

Community Kindness Matters!

The Red Box Project Maidstone would like to say a massive “Thank You” to Jaydee Living at www.wheeliebins.co.uk for donating 3 x 240 litre red bins. These bins will be put to great use in various collection points, enabling us to further provide the local schools girls and community.

#communitykindnessmatters

Gemma Abbott, Hackney North Red Box Project Coordinator, writes for The Observer about period poverty.

 

 

‘I began donating period products to my local food bank and then, keen to have a greater impact, I became involved as a volunteer coordinator for the Red Box Project, whose aim is to ensure that no young woman goes without access to menstrual protection. The project uses donations from local communities to provide red boxes filled with period products and spare underwear to more than 750 schools across the UK and, before the holidays, this number was increasing by more than 100 each month.’

Gemma was invited to write a piece for The Observer. As we knew it would be, her thoughts were expressed with eloquence and we agree: to continue to ignore that the problem exists is a ‘bloody disgrace’.

Please read more here.

 

Photo Credit: The Guardian Online, Echo/Getty Images/Cultura RF

 

Yorkshire Building Society supports The Red Box Project!

Today marks the start of a campaign withYorkshire Building Society who are collecting donations for our local projects in participating branches around the UK. 

Thank you to Yorkshire Building Society for your kindness and support in ensuring free products are accessible to pupils in primary and secondary education.

The campaign is running until 7th September 2018 so if you’re in a branch that is collecting donations, please feel free to donate!

Participating branches:

Batley

Barnsley

Blackburn

Cardonland Agency

Castleford

Croydon GS

Helensburgh Agency

Ipswich

Leicester

Lincoln

Longridge Agency

Malton

Manchester

Mapplewell Agency

Preston

Reading

Ripon

Rotherham Agency

Rugby Agency

Southampton

Wallasey

Wetherby

Wigan

 

 

Working with the National Citizenship Service

 

Our Red Box Project coordinator, Tizzie Kite, talks about her amazing experience, running a workshop for 150 inspiring young people. 

It’s August, it’s sweltering hot, and I’ve got the task of leading workshops for around 150 teenagers over 2 mornings in a lecture theatre.

I was invited to talk to the young people taking part in NCS, or the National Citizenship Service, to encourage them to help out with The Red Box Project for the community outreach section of their summer programme.

As my first group began to arrive, it soon became clear to me that these kids had no clue what Red Box was about, and boy, were they in for a shock. My workshop begins with the young people listing as many euphemisms as they can for periods. The record from the two days was 18, and my personal favourites included ‘paging Edward Cullen’, ‘Satan’s Waterfall’, ‘My Dolmio Days’, and simply, ‘A Shit Time’.

My workshop also featured games such as ‘higher or lower’ and a version of ‘The Price is Right’, which compared the cost of basic food items to the cost of sanitary products. The results left the young people, particularly the boys, shocked.

After these games, we looked at some situations that young women could find themselves in, and what they would do if they were in them. An example we discussed was the story of 14-year-old Samantha.

She lives with her parents and 2 younger brothers. Her mum is very ill, and spends most of her day in bed, while her dad works long hours to cover the rent and bills, leaving very little money for food. Her Dad sends her to the shop with £5 to get food for the whole family, but her period has just started, so Sam is left with a tricky situation. She can buy some pads and potentially have her family go hungry for a night, or she can buy the food and skip school until her period stops.

The discussions were interesting, with many of the young people questioning why these products cost so much, why there is a tax on them, and why the government doesn’t supply them—something that many people have been wondering for years!

After feedback, I added a third option to their scenarios. What if they could go somewhere to get free sanitary products that would last the entire length of their period? The young people agreed unanimously that this was the best option for all of the scenarios they were given.

Using their understanding of the situation some people face, we learnt about what period poverty was with help from a video from Bloom on YouTube.

Finally, at the end of the workshop, I tied all the loose ends together by telling them about The Red Box Project and the work that the organisation does across the UK. The feedback from the young people was absolutely phenomenal. They wanted to know what they could do to help, whether there were red boxes in their schools, and I even had a few of the leaders ask me how they could get involved. One asked me to come and do a workshop at his workplace, too!

The NCS slogan is “say yes”, and I’m hoping that some of the young people I have spoken to over the last two weeks will “say yes” to helping end period poverty!

Period Drama – Fundraiser Film Night!

Come and join us at the gorgeous Fontaine’s bar – 100% independent, female-owned and female-run – for a cosy showing of Sense & Sensibility starring Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet and Alan Rickman (RIP).

THAT TIME OF THE MONTH, a new monthly film event, aims to help schoolgirls across the UK secure their futures while offering attendees a sumptuous escape into the past, with a series of screenings of period dramas to raise funds for the Red Box Project, a community-led initiative to combat period poverty in schools.

One in ten girls in the UK have been unable to afford sanitary wear, 49 per cent of girls have missed an entire day of school because of their period, and 48 per cent of girls aged 14-21 in the UK are embarrassed by their periods.

The Red Box Project was initiated in March 2017 by three friends who wanted to give young women in their local area access to sanitary products, and began organising constantly stocked boxes of sanitary wear in schools in Portsmouth. Recognising that the need was nationwide, they invited women from across the country to be a part of this movement. There are now Red Box Projects all across the UK, from Scotland to Cornwall.

“Let’s face it, period poverty is an outrage,” says Liesl Rose, co-founder. “The Red Box Project uses community kindness to support young women and these monthly film fundraisers are a fantastic example of that.”

That Time of the Month was dreamed up by Emma Kosmin, 29, who volunteers for her local Red Box Project in Watford/Bushey.

“My friends and I love to watch period dramas together while on our periods,” says Emma. “It’s permission for having a little time out from life during what can sometimes be a rough time of the month. Now we’d like to invite you to join us too”.

All profits from the first event will benefit the Red Box Project in Watford/Bushey, with eachevent highlighting and supporting local projects across the UK. There will be a Red Box at Fontaines on the night to accept sanitary donations to benefit local schools, so bring what you can!

The Red Box Project requests donations of sanitary pads (all varieties of length and flow), tampons (regular or light), panty liners (individually wrapped), small packets of Femfresh wipes (or similar), disposable sanitary bags, new dark coloured knickers (sizes child 10-11 up to adult size 16), small roll-on deodorants, shower gel and opaque black tights (all sizes).

You’ll get a chance to learn more about the Red Box Project, and we got some special surprises lined up for the first event, watch this space.

Luxury seats are £9 and regular are £7. Includes popcorn! Limited so act fast!

Fontaines is a venue for those 21+.

An Update From Our Barrow-in-Furness Coordinator, Helen Wood

 

Schools out for the summer and our Barrow-in-Furness coordinator, Helen Wood has been busy! We asked her how she had got on this year. To say we are lucky to have her on board the project is an understatement.

‘Here in Barrow we recently presented to the County Strategic Child Poverty Group, who are fully supportive of the project and want to assist in making it countywide. They are setting up a task group to see how they can best assist.

We have 27 boxes in educational establishments and following an article published in the local paper appealing for community organisations to host boxes during the holidays there are now boxes accessible in 5 locations.

I was approached by BBC Radio Cumbria to be interviewed on the breakfast show. They first ran a short piece where they visited Walney School and spoke to some of the students and Mrs Amacna about the impact of having the red box in their school. They then had a short interview with myself about The Red Box Project in the local area.

We have also supplied the Pause Group (14-19 year olds) at Women’s Community Matters so that they can freely access products when needed.

Tesco Extra presented us with a wheelie bin of sanitary products and Geek Goods in Ulverston is our latest donation point.’

Once again Helen – thank you! Barrow-in-Furness has an amazing community. If you would like to support Helen’s amazing work please head over to:

Facebook: @theredboxprojectbarrow

Instagram: @redboxprojectbarrow

Twitter: @RedboxBarrow

InstaPoets: Always to Donate a Pad to Red Box Project

To highlight the struggles, shame and consequences of period poverty, Always has enlisted the help of poet, Hollie McNish and a collective of bright young voices, to develop InstaPoems around the topic. For every like or comment made on these InstaPoems, the brand will donate a pad to The Red Box Project.

To check out the InstaPoems and like/comment to generate donations, follow @Always_uk_ireland on Instagram

If you would like to help us, please email: redboxprojectuk@gmail.com

Choice – A Privilege or A Right?

 

Becky, one of our South East London coordinators, explores the importance of choice and period poverty.

 

Pad or tampon? Cloth or cup?

Applicator or non-applicator?

Light, regular, heavy, super or maxi?

Wings? Liner?

Night time?

Always, Bodyform, Lil-let’s, Hey Girls, TOTM, Pink Parcel?

Feeling dizzy yet? The number of choices we women have to make to manage our periods is pretty astonishing when it’s broken down. And it’s not just once that we have to think about these things. The answers to these questions (and even the questions themselves) will vary month by month, and even day by day.

This month, for example, my period started one day before I went on a week camping trip. Of course it did. When I noticed the timing the month before I realised my usual products weren’t going to be appropriate for the trip, so I sent an SOS to some friends. They replied with advice on various different products that they’d used camping and how to use them. Cue decisions about products, brands, costs… Period admin. Not really what you want to be dealing with when you want to be planning a holiday. But really I was super lucky because I had one important thing available to me: choice.

Something we hear over and over again in discussions about period poverty is: but value supermarket products cost 23p. Can’t they just use those?

And it’s true. A pack of 10 maxi pads in a supermarket can cost as little as 23p. But the problem is that whilst those 23p products might work for a regular period with a regular flow on a regular day, how many women only ever have those?

How many women have never wanted super absorbent pads for the first few days so that they can change every 2-3 hours instead of every hour? How many women have never needed night pads as well as day ones, so they don’t wake every day hoping they don’t need to wash the sheets? How many women haven’t had to buy a couple of different products because one month they’re going swimming and they can’t risk bleeding in the pool? How many women have never wanted a tampon because they’re wearing something special and don’t want the pad to show? How many women have never wanted a couple of days with wings, so that they know they’re not going to have to deal with leaks?

Choice matters. Choice is the difference between managing your period and your period managing you.

It’s why at the Red Box Project we are and will always be so committed to providing young women with period products in a range of types, sizes, shapes, brands and absorbencies. Because all women deserve the chance to make decisions about what they need to live with dignity and in comfort, all month, every month.

Thank you for your help in making this possible. Your donations are so appreciated, by all of us.

 

*photo credit: BBC

Always Pledge Their Support to the Red Box Project With Their #EndPeriodPoverty Campaign

We’re delighted to announce that Always has chosen us as partner for the next phase of the Always #EndPeriodPoverty campaign! The brand will be donating thousands of pads to The Red Box Project so that girls across the country have access to free sanitary products via our red boxes.

 

Always is a market leader and so the scale of this is absolutely huge for us.

 

To date, our coordinators have quietly placed over 650 red boxes of free sanitary products in schools and the project is growing rapidly.

 

Thank you Always for helping us make this the last ever generation of young women to suffer the indignity of period poverty! Watch this space to find out how you can help generate pad donations and #EndPeriodPoverty.