Local purple box campaign launched

WFI Members placing a box in Newtongrange library.  (left to right, Paula Cuccurullo, Ellen Scott, Jennifer Volk, Cllr Catherine Johnstone, Mary Macfarlane)
WFI Members placing a box in Newtongrange library. (left to right, Paula Cuccurullo, Ellen Scott, Jennifer Volk, Cllr Catherine Johnstone, Mary Macfarlane)

Women for Independence (WFI) Midlothian has launched a campaign to support local women and girls affected by period poverty.

Purple boxes filled with free sanitary products are being placed in libraries and other locations across the county under the campaign motto “if you need it, take it – if you can spare it, donate it”.

WFI carried out research in 2017 which showed that 22 per cent of women in Scotland have found themselves unable to afford basic sanitary protection. This can result in them using newspaper or even rags during their periods which can lead to health issues, impacting work and school.

According to WFI, austerity, benefits sanctions, illness and precarious employment contracts are just some of the reasons that women might not be able to afford the monthly expense of sanitary products.

WFI member and local councillor Catherine Johnstone (SNP) said: “When you are out and about and go to the toilet, you don’t ever say ‘I am going to use the free toilet paper’ – no one thinks twice about who is paying for it, toilet paper is just provided.

“We should eventually get to the point where women can get hold of what they need in the same way, but until then we need schemes like this one.”

This campaign receives no external funding and will rely on the generosity and solidarity of people in Midlothian to make it work.

If you would like to help the campaign, you can donate towels, tampons and other sanitary products using the purple boxes.

Go to https://purpleboxplace.wordpress.com/ to see up to date information and locations.

WFI member Jennifer Volk from Newtongrange, added: “Now and again I have been caught short without any tampons and I was always so grateful when another woman helped me out.

“I think showing solidarity with other women who need period products is just a natural extension of that.”

From August 2018, the Scottish Government plans to provide free sanitary products in schools.