A new community funded initiative known as the Red Box Project has started in Taunton to ensure that no young woman misses school because she has her period and lacks access to sanitary products.
The project encourages individuals in the local community to sponsor a Red Box in a school near them, working together to keep it filled with sanitary products and spare underwear.
Currently there are boxes in the YMCA, Taunton Academy and Heathfield Community school. Discussions are underway with other schools in the Taunton area as the scheme is planning to expand. Theses boxes are easily accessible through an appropriate member of staff.
Posters placed in the girls lavatories signpost the box, its content and location. Leaflets are provided for both the pupil and the teacher which gives a thorough overview and understanding about the purpose of The Red Box
Open discussions are encouraged between the teacher and pupil about the subject of periods and where the Red Box is situated in the school. Overstretched teachers already take on the responsibility of helping pupils in need and schools keep small stocks of sanitary items for emergencies. The problem is that limited budgets mean they are usually able to hand out just a couple at a time.
A spokesperson for the Project said: “A young woman’s education will shape her future. We are determined that this will be the last generation of girls to suffer the indignity and embarrassment of period poverty.” The Red Box supports young women throughout their period with as many sanitary products as they need plus the added reassurance of a few left over to prevent a panic next month. We are mindful that periods happen during the school holidays and pupils are encouraged to take extra during this time too. Coordinators also place a red box in appropriate settings such as youth clubs and church halls which are accessible all year round. This is what makes the project special.”
“No tearful panics in the loo. No wadded up toilet roll. No anxious embarrassment. No missed lessons or staying at home. No missed education. The Red Box Project Taunton is entirely funded by community kindness and focused solely on supporting young women. It is designed to be a simple, no frills scheme to meet a need with minimal fuss.”
Current donation points are in Tesco superstore, Blackbrook gym and one will soon be at Indelible Inc.
The project is currently trying to make contact with the other supermarkets around Taunton but if you have or work in business that would like to be a donation point, please get in touch with them, also if your school or youth club would like box please get in touch, they provide boxes to both primary and secondary school.
The project started in Portsmouth 18 months ago. Today, there are over 890 active red boxes across the UK and 2 in the US.
For more information visit: www.facebook.com/Tauntonredbox
To discuss being a donation point or get a box for your school or any other queries please email