Social enterprise Hey Girls this week donated their 10 millionth period product to women and girls in need across the UK.
Founded in 2018, Hey Girls’ mission is to end period poverty in the UK, a Plan UK study published in 2018 found that 1 in 10 women and girls find themselves unable to afford period products from month to month.
Since launching, Hey Girls has developed a network of over 200 donation partners across the UK to ensure that period products go to those who need them most. Through their Buy One Give One model, for every product sold the same is match donated to the community. Donation partners vary across the country from local foodbanks, community centres and initiatives to womens crisis shelters.
While major steps have been made in the UK towards bridging the equality gap – the Scottish Government assigned period provision budgets to schools, colleges and local authorities in 2018, Wales and the UK made similar funding schemes available in 2020, Hey Girls believes access to period products is a right and not a privilege.
Celia Hodson, Founder Hey Girls said: “We’re amazed to have reached this milestone of 10 million donated products. Sadly, there is still a long way to go until we can say that nobody in the UK finds themselves unable to afford period products, especially once the ramifications of Covid-19 become clear. Until we can say that period poverty is no longer an issue, Hey Girls will continue to work with our network of donation partners to make sure that products are available to those most in need.”
Donated products differ depending on what each individual partner requires, from re-usable products for NHS workers on long shifts unable to visit bathrooms frequently – to menstrual cups or pads for foodbanks and shelters.
A spokesperson for Freedom4Girls said: Freedom4Girls are contacted on a daily basis from support agencies, schools and individuals who are struggling to afford period products.
In May alone during lockdown we delivered over 7,000 packs of products to people in need. We would not be able to keep up with this demand, tackling period poverty and supporting women, girls and people who menstruate if it wasn’t for the substantial and consistent support from Hey Girls UK.
Lynne from the Youth Support Team, Cumbria said: “The majority of the families that we work with are either low waged or have very little income. Increasingly when you visit families they mention things like the cost of living and how difficult it can be to make ends meet. By being able to provide the sanitary protection we are enabling these families to be a little more flexible with the precious money that they have.”
An attendee of the Discover Project for vulnerable families in Edinburgh said: “I got information and products from Hey Girls, they helped me to save money and I got some reusable products which also help the planet”
Hey Girls period products are sold online at www.heygirls.co.uk or are available to buy in selected ASDA, Waitrose, Scotmid, Co-op and independent Eco Stores across the UK.