Angus Council’s Policy & Resources Committee offered high praise and approval for the ongoing work on Free Period Angus - a project that is regularly singled out for its pioneering good practice in tackling period poverty.
At their meeting on Tuesday (21 June), elected members heard how partner groups across the area have embraced this endeavour, resulting in the excellent services that are in place today.
Launched in the midst of the pandemic, Free Period Angus was a community planning response to tackling period poverty. It includes a prominent profile across social media channels and a website, as well as solid local support from community groups, all of which helps to ensure messages are reaching local people.
In terms of distributing much-needed products:-
- There are over 100 locations across Angus where people can pick up what they require.
- There is a home delivery service in partnership with Hey Girls, where people can select the products they want and have them sent direct, so encouraging period dignity. To date over 5,000 people have engaged with this service.
- There is a Period Positive Employer programme that has seen over 25 employers sign up to support their employees and local customer to access products and support.
- There are sewing classes where 42 people have learned how to make their own products.
- Targeted campaigns have been undertaken to encourage the use of washable products – this has seen over 4,000 people request washable pads.
- Eight Red Tent Support Groups have been held with over 200 participants learning about menstrual health through health practitioner and specialist presentations.
In 2021, Free Period Angus partnered with Dundee and Angus College to develop a legacy for this work with local performing arts students creating an online film for anyone can access. It highlights keys areas to support young people with their menstrual health and Angus Council is excited to be launching this in the summer.
Speaking at yesterday’s committee meeting, Angus Council Chief Executive Margo Williamson, who is also Chair of the Angus Community Planning Partnership, said: “The statement of intent tabled today highlights the continued support this work both attracts and demands as an innovative regional project supporting people out of period poverty.
“This type of work has never been more vital as we witness the increased uncertainty and financial pressures around people’s income. Free Period Angus can take away some of that pressure and do so in a supportive and dignified way.”
The Angus Community Planning Partnership has been delivering on the Scottish government requirement to provide free period products throughout the area
from August 2018, when all Local Authorities in Scotland were provided with funding to introduce access to free period products in schools.
Further information -
The Scottish Government made a new commitment in the 2018 Programme for Government to go further than this and “aim to increase the number and range of places where period products are available for those who need them.
On 30 November 2018, COSLA Leaders agreed to proposed funding to expand access to free period products. Following discussion between Scottish Government and COSLA officials it was agreed that the main route of the expansion of delivery should be through Community Planning Partnerships, recognising that they have the links with communities, facilities and services to ensure delivery meets local needs.
In Angus, a lot of work has been done over the past four years to deliver on the now published Period Products Act. This work all started with the community and co-producing a plan of what local people wanted and needed. Throughout those four years, we have undertaken regular surveys, held events and continued to engage on how best to support our communities.