Trains stations in Birmingham are offering free sanitary products to tackle period poverty.
In honour of International Women’s Day on March 8th, the three major train stations in Birmingham - New Street station, Birmingham Snow Hill and Birmingham Moor Street station - will supply free sanitary pad and tampon vending machines.
This project has been funded by Network Rail, in partnership with the West Midlands Grand Railway Collaboration to tackle period poverty. “I’m proud that the Grand Railway Collaboration has brought together our three rail hubs to improve what we can offer to passengers”, said Lucy Wootton, head of the Grand Railway Collaboration. “Ensuring free access to sanitary products for people out and about on the rail network is the right thing to do, so it’s great to be able to play a part in the fight against period poverty.”
In February 2021, Plan International found that during the pandemic, more than 36% of girls aged 14-21 struggled to afford or access period products. That is equivalent to over 1 million girls in the UK. Also, three quarters of those said they had to use toilet paper as an alternative.
Rose Caldwell, CEO of Plan International UK, called these numbers “deeply concerning” and said: “We have seen great progress in public awareness of period poverty over the past several years thanks to the tireless work of grassroots organisations, but this is a wake-up call that much more needs to be done.”
This project comes as an expansion after free period products were trialled last year at New Street station. The sanitary products will be made from sustainable, responsibly sourced bamboo and be free from chemicals, bleach and toxins.