As the cost of living crisis continues, more and more people are struggling to afford period products and one charity in Manchester is working to tackle the problem.
Period poverty is when women, girls, and people who menstruate are unable to access or afford period products due to a lack of finances or education.
A poll by ActionAid earlier this year found that the number of people in the UK who were struggling to afford period products has risen from 12% to 21% – around one million more people – in the last year.
Every Month is a charity trying to help people in Greater Manchester by providing free period products to food banks, shelters and crisis centres.
Anna Hall, a volunteer and trustee at the charity, said: “We want to make it accessible to everyone – if there’s people in need we try to fulfill that need as much as we can.
“It’s really important to just make society as fair and balanced as possible. With period poverty there’s economic imbalance, societal imbalance, and it’s gendered.”
Every Month runs donation points across Greater Manchester where people can drop off pads and tampons to be distributed to people experiencing period poverty.
“As a charity we don’t exclusively say women or girls since not everyone who menstruates falls into that category,” Anna added.
Anna joined Every Month when the charity started in 2019 and works with them alongside her full-time job. The charity has no paid members of staff and all volunteers contribute in their free time; there are 10 regular volunteers including operations and fundraising directors.
Each period pack from Every Month costs £3.50 to put together and contains 10 pads, five applicator tampons, five non-applicator tampons, and a chocolate bar.
An anonymous service user quoted in Every Month’s 2021 Impact Report said: “Period poverty is no joke.
“I’ve been helped by organisations such as Every Month and mutual aid groups that meant I no longer had to worry about affording period products.
“I no longer had to choose between pads and food, or suffer the humiliation of not being able to stay clean during something I can’t help.”
Anna said: “With the cost of living crisis, our service is in more demand than ever.
“And we want to help everyone and you never want to say no, but you need donations to be coming in.”
Last year, Scotland became the first country in the world to make period products free to all, but similar legislation has not yet been passed in England.