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'Girls are missing school' because of period poverty

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Downham Market library are the central hub of a Norfolk library scheme called the Tricky Period, which aims to provide items such as sanitary towels, tampons and even the green alternative- The Mooncup to women and girls in need.

@josefin on Unsplash (13031168)
@josefin on Unsplash (13031168)

Speaking to Fran Valentine, the library's manager, it's become pertinent as to why the area needs a scheme such as this.

Fran said: "There are many young girls who are missing school because they can't afford effective period protection, and some can't even afford it at all.

"A lot of women become housebound at the time of their period, and those with medical conditions that cause prolonged menstrual bleeding are spending a fortune on these products.

"We receive donations from supermarkets and someone kindly gave us 20 Mooncups, which are becoming a very popular alternative to pads and tampons.

"You can donate anything, from cloth pads to THINX underwear.

"The use of inferior or cheaper products do not provide adequate protection.

"Homeless women, or women fleeing from domestic violence are also in a position where they may need to use a service such as this."

47 libraries across the county are stocked with tampons and towels.

Fran told the Lynn News: "You simply come in, fill in a form and that's it.

It's a quick and discreet service."

In 2015, the 'tampon tax' was introduced, as sanitary items were considered a "luxury item".

Even a small rise in price has rendered these products unaffordable for many girls and women.

Stores such as Tesco pay the tax themselves, but not all places follow their lead.

Fran said: "It's not a luxury, it's necessary.

"We have a lot of girls coming into the Downham library, we just want more people to know about it.

"People are asking 'Where can I get free sanitary products in my area?', they are surprised to find out that their local library has a large stock.

"You can also get this service in King's Lynn."

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