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Scotland’s Free Period Products: A World First

Rachael Taylor

From today, 15th of August, it is now a legal requirement for  local authorities and education providers in Scotland to provide free period products.

This means there is now wide access to sanitary pads and tampons in any gendered or unisex public bathroom run by councils and education. 

In order to help people locate the products an app has been developed called Pickupmyperiod. This app has a list of establishments that provide sanitary products to any member of the public for free. 

Local authorities have to join to have their pick up locations on the app. I’m hopeful that given time this will all improve and make it a better experience. 

The other part of the scheme is being able to order online through your local council where you can get both single use and reusable items. The only stipulation is that you must be a resident of Scotland. So regardless of gender, location, income or anything else you can use this service. 

I simply googled “Orkney Islands Council free period products” and was taken to the correct page on the council’s website to start my order. 

The process of ordering my items was very simple and didn’t take long maybe 5 minutes from start to finish. I filled in my name and address and picked the items I wanted and now I’m waiting for them to come home. 

The choices of items were fantastic. Sanitary pads, tampons, menstrual cups with sterilising pots, reusable pads and period pants. All orders are fulfilled by a company called Hey Girls which is a UK based company. 

Here are the screen shots of my filling in the order on my phone so people know what to expect. I will do an update when I get my order home as well.

Really clear steps, just had to fill in my details and make my choices. Nice and easy.

In October 2020, local authorities and grant-aided schools had a duty to provide free products for pupils.

The Scottish Government is providing £3.4 million in 2022-23 for access to free period products for students.

The app – called Pick Up My Period –where people can find their nearest collection point – was devised by Celia Hodson, Founder & CEO of Hey Girls in collaboration with the Scottish Government. The free app allows people to find period products on the move or products closest to home. Users can even search for plastic-free products within the app.

Celia Hodson, founder of Hey Girls, said:

“The Period Product Act shows Scotland is leading the way in recognising that period products are not a luxury and should be freely available to all.

“Through our PickupMyPeriod app, we work to ensure no-one in Scotland is left without access to period products and are well on the way to achieving that with more than 1,000 locations highlighted to users.

“We hope the Act will help those in need and that our app will be of support to many more as our network continues to grow.”

The App was created in collaboration by Hey Girls, students from Edinburgh Napier University and Scottish-based web and mobile agency Pogo Studio.  Scottish-based Bold Studio also created the animated videos.

Since 2017, the Scottish Government has invested more than £27 million to fund access in a range of public places.

Social Justice Secretary in the Scottish Government Shona Robison said:

“Providing access to free period products is fundamental to equality and dignity, and removes the financial barriers to accessing them. This is more important than ever at a time when people are making difficult choices due to the cost of living crisis and we never want anyone to be in a position where they cannot access period products.

“Since 2018, we have delivered ground-breaking action by providing free period products for pupils and students in all our schools, colleges and universities. We are proud to be the first national government in the world to take such action.

“The work we are doing in Scotland continues to be world leading, going goes beyond provision of free products. We have also provided funding for an educational website for employers, run a successful anti-stigma campaign, and improved menstrual health resources available for schools.

“I’m grateful to all the young women and girls who have been crucial in developing the best ways to access products to meet their needs.”

To download the Pick Up My Period app, please visit MyPeriod – Welcome to MyPeriod 

IOS – PickupMyPeriod app

Android – PickupMyPeriod app

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