Virtual Racing UK is an event business that organises Virtual Distance and Fitness Challenges and donates 20% of the entry fee to charitable organisations and not for profits.
Last week, I had the pleasure of receiving an email from the Virtual Racing UK’s Director, Sam, who said: ‘I feel very passionately about your cause and have been trying to find a charitable organisation exactly like you for a while!’ Her passion, positivity and enthusiasm shone through and it was such a pleasure to speak to her about the generous plan she had to support the work that we do.
Virtual Racing UK launched in June 2017 and has so far raised over £40,000 for various charities including: Mental Health Foundation, Marie Curie, Born Free, Ellie’s Friends and Cherished Gowns UK.
The business was founded by Sam and her sister and as a result of a nomination from a member of their team they have chosen to support The Red Box Project. We are over the moon to be appointed as their nominated charitable organisation for one of their monthly challenges: Huff & Puff 9 3/4 (June).
The great thing about virtual racing events is that they are accessible to all and allow entrants to complete the distances in one stint or across the month of the challenge.
A whooping 20% of every entry fee from this race will go towards supporting projects in delivering on the ground support to young people in educational settings across the UK.
Please take a look at their website to find out more about the fantastic events they offer.
Written by The Red Box Project HQ and South East London Coordinator, Becky Lopez
In last week’s Spring Statement, the Government promised to tackle period poverty in English schools, committing to provide menstrual products to all secondary schools and colleges. Like many campaigners around the country, I moved swiftly from elation to disappointment: what about primary schools? And watched with interest when Hammond was tackled on this by Danielle Rowley. His response: “I suppose that it is a manifestation of the universal truth that you can never satisfy”.
And he’s right. We’re not satisfied. Pleased it’s happened: yes. But no, not satisfied. And nor could we ever be with a move that excludes thousands of young people from support, depending on whether or not they were able to hang on and not start menstruating until the arbitrary age of 12. We haven’t changed our aim. We want products available to all young people who menstruate. Period.
Why do primary schools matter to us so very much? At the Red Box Project, about a third of the boxes we have in educational settings are in primary schools. We do not deny that, as Hammond said, “the core of the problem [of period poverty] is in secondary schools”. Our box numbers and the frequency of top ups we supply support that. But nor can we deny that, if period poverty is a problem in secondary schools, it must be in primary schools too. Because under 12s menstruate. It’s simple maths. If the average age that a girl starts menstruating in the UK is 12, coincidentally around the age they start secondary school, some will start above and some will start below that age. And those younger girls, who can start as young as 8 or 9, deserve our support to stay in school as much as older school children do. Without support, they could face a monthly struggle for up to 3 years of school.
One way to look at it is as a matter of kindness. The younger the child when she starts menstruating, the more difficult her experience is likely to be. She is more likely to be isolated in her experience, without friends going through the same thing. She is less likely to have independence, able to get to the shops on her way home from school, for example, or earning pocket money so that she can make choices to support herself. She may have less help in school, with a lack of facilities in the toilets to make her feel comfortable about changing pads. She may not have had any formal education on menstruation. She may not even know what’s happening to her when her period starts, or what to do next. These are the vulnerable, anxious young people that a well-executed scheme designed to deliver period products into all schools could give vital support and confidence to.
But it’s not just about kindness; it’s about human rights. A child’s right to an education doesn’t start aged 12, when they start secondary school. All children are entitled to an education, regardless of their gender, social background and their age. Yet we know there is a growing attainment gap between FSM students and their peers that exists before children even start school, growing in every stage of education that follows. By the time a child on FSM finishes primary school, they will already be an estimated 9.5 months behind their peers. Of course, the reasons behind this gap are multifaceted and complicated. But young people need all of the support they can get, to stay in school and to be able to participate fully in lessons. Free menstrual products can help with that. Catching up is difficult. That support has to start early. Waiting until secondary school is too late.
Hammond said: “I am open to sensible suggestions for how we might address [the issue regarding primary schools]”. So here you go: set aside the money for primary schools to be able to buy products too. And please include PRUs and other special education settings whilst you’re doing so. In our experience, the need in primary schools is low, and so the cost should be too. But every child matters. Let’s keep them all in school. All month. Every month.
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.
Being kind to another person can often take a concerted effort. When life is full of your own stresses and strains it can take a lot to sprinkle joy into someone else’s life. But, notice the effect it has when you do take the time to open a door for someone, give way to someone when you’re driving, stopping to let a person or people cross the road and smiling. Smiling is often the best way to show someone you care. A silent exchange that can lift another human soul when they need it most.
Today is ‘Random Acts of Kindness Day’. So many wonderful posts have been shared on social media and it is a joy to see each one.
We, at The Red Box Project, are fortunate. We see the kindness of others, in action, on numerous occasions, every single day. The generosity and silent acts of giving are inspiring and it is that which keeps us motivated and empowered to keep delivering support to as many educational settings across the UK and overseas.
We also see the other side. The need for your continued support is ever growing. Thank you so much for taking those moments to write a kind word, make journeys to your local donation drop off points and for supporting the legal campaign we are involved in. Access to period products should not be reliant on the kindness of strangers but until change comes we are so grateful to each and every one of you. Together we are stronger!
This year, the theme of International Women’s Day is #BalanceforBetter, celebrating women’s achievements as well as focusing on a call for a more gender-balanced world.
We believe that every child should have equal access to
education, regardless of gender. This is their fundamental human right. It is
completely unacceptable that any young person should miss out on their
education because they have their period. That is why we are calling on the
Government to provide funding for free menstrual products for schools and
colleges across the country.
At The Red Box Project, we have learnt that there truly is
strength in numbers and we would love for your school to get involved: opening
up conversations around periods, breaking down barriers and encouraging engagement
in politics and society.
How can you join us?
1. Discuss with young people the importance of gender equality in
schools. Why does it matter? How do periods fit into this issue? What should be
done about it?
2. Take action: we’ve included several activities suitable for
English lessons, citizenship lessons, PSHE, form times or debating or feminism
clubs, to get students to think about #FreePeriods. We’ve included an activity
to help students to write to their MP about the issue. This is a real world
problem and letters could be sent to their MP in anticipation of a response.
3. Join the #FreePeriods movement online. We would love to hear
from schools tweeting or commenting about the difference #FreePeriods would
make to their students. Please do tag @RedBoxProject and @AmikaGeorge in your
To download our teaching resources, please click on the link below.
The Crimson Grenade Cabaret Evening is being held in just 10 days time. If you live in London or are visiting on the 31st Jan 2019, why not pop along to what promises to be a great night of entertainment!
Ticket profits for the evening will be being donated to the Red Box Project.
Click on the link below for more information about this fabulous event:
#FreePeriods: It’s Time to Take Legal Action to End Period Poverty in the UK
Let the legal campaign begin!
This is incredible!
Kindness is everywhere.
In under one week and from pledges made by 399 AMAZING people we have reached our initial target of £10k, allowing us to take the next step forwards in our legal campaign. Thank you so much to everyone who donated, liked and shared our posts on social media . You are wonderful people! ❤️
Our Crowd Justice page is still very much live and we would love for more and more people to support our legal campaign but knowing we have hit our initial target so quickly is overwhelming in the best possible way and sets us on the path of building a robust case to bring to our government – asking them to fulfil their legal responsibility in ensuring that no young person misses out on their right to an education because they have their period. Break the inequality.
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.”
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 email@example.com
I, Daniel Blake – On BBC Two at 9.45 pm Monday 5th January 2019.
‘If you’re not angry, what kind of person are you?’ Director, Kenneth (Ken) Loach offering out the question we should all be asking.
It is never about turning a blind eye.
If you haven’t already immersed yourself with the masterpiece that is: I, Daniel Blake then we beseech you to watch, record and allow yourself to be confronted with the stark reality that our country finds itself in today; spiralling out of control for so many, too many people, in our society.
Every stranger is a friend you have yet to meet. When you psychologise it in that sense, difficult times can occur in a split second and completely out of your control to your family, friend or neighbour. Ignorance is definitely NOT bliss.
Everyone who supports us – thank you for placing yourself in another person’s shoes and reinforcing how important it is to have a society built on morals that are positive, kind and caring.