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Tackling Period Poverty

Steps are being taken to tackle period poverty in West Lothian.

08 February

Period poverty is a growing problem, with many young girls and women are going without essential sanitary products during their period.

Council Executive has approved an allocation of £18,000 to pilot a period poverty payment to women in receipt of the Crisis Grant in 2018/19. The committee also heard about the work taking place to tackle the issue through collaborations through the West Lothian Community Planning Partnership's Better Off: Anti-Poverty Strategy. 

The council is also working closely with social enterprises such as West Lothian Food Bank and Hey Girls to ensure vulnerable women in West Lothian have access to free feminine hygiene products when they need them. 

Leader of the Council Lawrence Fitzpatrick said: "We strongly believe that sanitary products are not a luxury, and finances should not prevent women getting essentials such as these.

"Research shows that many women living in poverty are struggling to pay for basic necessities, and the £18,000 of short-term funding will help a number of those in greatest need.

"We will continue to look at ways of improving access to sanitary products for those in need where possible."

West Lothian Council is working with the Hey Girls organisation on an ongoing pilot scheme to supply sanitary products to West Lothian's 11 secondary schools. Stocks are also available in primary and additional support needs schools. 

Hey Girls, who donate a free sanitary product for every one they sell, have also applied to West Lothian LEADER for funding to delivery and education programme for schools and vulnerable women, with a decision expected in March 2018. 

A national programme of free feminine hygiene products for those in need is expected to be launched later in the year.

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