Whilst returning from a trip South on Tuesday I was delighted to notice free sanitary products had been made available on the Aberdeen/Kirkwall/Shetland ferry route, this ties in nicely with the latest Scottish Government announcement which shall help to reduce period poverty within our communities:
After the successful roll out of free sanitary products in Scottish Schools, Colleges and Universities, the Scottish Government have announced additional funds are to be made available to Local Authorities in Scotland amounting to £4 million. This money is to be made available straight away and shall run through the financial year 2019/20; and shall enable our Local Authorities to further target areas in which free sanitary products can be made available.
This announcement was made whilst Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell MSP was visiting Move On*; A FareShare food centre. This centre is involved in the distribution of sanitary products to low income people and families. Ms Campbell stated:
“As the first country in the world to provide access to free sanitary products in schools, colleges and universities, we are going even further to increase the number of places where these vital products are available and reach more people on low incomes.
“In a society as rich as Scotland, no one should have to suffer the indignity of not having the means to meet their basic needs. We also want to continue to reduce the stigma and address the overarching gender equality and dignity issues that affect everyone who menstruate, regardless of their income.
“We are working to support people in a thoughtful and dignified way, working in partnership with organisations such as the Convention Of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) and Move On”.
The spokesperson for COSLA’s Community Wellbeing Cllr Kelly Parry for my former region Midlothian said:
“COSLA welcomes the wider roll-out of free sanitary provision across our communities. Extending provision beyond education settings will help ensure that no one experiences disadvantage, anxiety, stigma or embarrassment because of lack of access to suitable products.
“COSLA, and our member councils, were amongst the first organisations in Scotland to offer free sanitary products and this wider role out further enhances this provision.”
This is surely a welcome addition to the fight against Period Poverty in Orkney and Scotland as a whole, as people on low incomes know, sanitary products can often be the last item on a household shopping list, and alleviating this worry can only be a step in the right direction for all affected.
*Move On is a franchise holder of FareShare and operate FareShare Glasgow and West of Scotland. Their new food and training depot delivers surplus food supplies to children and families experiencing food poverty. In May 2018 the Scottish Government provided £500,000 to FareShare to expand access to sanitary products through their network of third sector partners. FareShare’s network spreads across over 1,000 community organisations and groups and over 20,000 people are already benefitting from this initiative.
Previous related articles in The Orkney News can be found in the links below:
Schools in Orkney to provide Free Sanitary Products
It’s heartening to hear that Northlink are now able to participate and that COSLA applauds the Scottish Governments additional support. However at the same time it’s so disappointing that COSLA has hardly lifted a finger to stop/prevent the closure of so many rural Public Toilets – a very vital cog in the sanitary process, not to mention men of a certain age who suffer from problems with their prostrate.