Gemma Allen, Diversity and Inclusion Lead at Mary Stevens Hospice in Stourbridge, West Midlands, writes about their new initiative to provide women visiting the hospice with sanitary products.
In the current climate period poverty is a growing concern for many women. This is a term used to describe when people struggle to purchase or are simply unable to afford menstrual products, resulting in missing work and school. Likewise, there are times a person may find themselves in a situation with no access to products.
One in four girls and women are in period poverty and unable to afford sanitary products with a third of the UK population experiencing it in recent years. Through providing comfort care packs visitors won’t experience unnecessary embarrassment asking members of staff, or leaving loved ones, to find appropriate sanitary products. This is a helping hand, whatever the circumstances, for our employees, volunteers, patients and visitors.
This issue was highlighted by organisations like football clubs, refuges and community venues offering free sanitary products and the result of a twitter conversation between myself, Healthwatch Dudley, Churches Housing Association of Dudley & District (CHADD) and Dr Lucy Martin, which led to the idea being proposed to the Executive Board at Mary Stevens Hospice.
A recent report by Dudley Health and Wellbeing Board highlighted significant levels of poverty in Dudley, higher than the national average. With the government confirming they will fund free products in secondary schools this doesn’t deal with period poverty everywhere or for adults, including those working or visiting health and social care settings.
Mary Stevens Hospice will begin implementing the provision of sanitary packs throughout their toilets and bathrooms, both at the main hospice site and throughout its twenty retail stores and recycling centre before the beginning of September. Funding and support have been received to provide the packs free of charge for staff, volunteers, patients and visitors, with thanks to the Vistage Group and BNI Network. In addition to sanitary products, personal toiletries for guests staying overnight in the family apartment at the hospice have also been kindly donated.
For more information visit Mary Stevens Hospice