Morrisons supermarkets giving away free sanitary products to shoppers in 'Ask for Sandy' scheme
Shoppers can collect free sanitary products from a supermarket as part of a discreet scheme to help tackle period poverty.
The initiative by Morrisons aims to give free items considerately and quickly to girls and women in need.
Shoppers can go to a customer services desk, say to a staff member they are there to collect a package 'Sandy' has left and they will be given sanitary towels in a plain envelope with no questions asked.
The idea for the scheme, which is now being rolled out in hundreds of stores nationwide, first came from a Morrisons member of staff at a Bolton supermarket who noticed a need for such a service in her local area.
Period poverty describes the problems girls and women have in getting sanitary products because of personal financial constraints.
A State of Girls' Rights UK report found almost a third of young women, aged between 14-21, have had problems affording period products since lockdown while one in seven admitted to having to ask friends for help because they or their family couldn't afford them - with one in 10 improvising with their sanitary wear.
Company Bodyform, which makes sanitary products and champions women's health information on its website, says the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent financial difficulties many households are facing will have only increased the numbers of girls and women continuing to experience period poverty.
The firm has consequently distributed thousands of pounds worth of products to charities and organisations to help reach those struggling to purchase their own items, particularly during the last year of lockdowns.
An estimated 137,000 children across the UK also often miss a day of school due to not being able to afford adequate sanitary products. In 2020 the government rolled out the Red Box Project, which enables schools to provide free period products to students who need them. Learn more about that here.
The latest initiative by Morrisons, to give away free products, is not the first project the supermarket has launched to help reach those struggling to buy sanitary items.
Earlier this year it ran a 'buy one donate one' scheme where the retailer donated one sanitary product to a local food bank or community group for every Morrisons own-brand or Bodyform period product that was bought from its stores.