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Free sanitary products available at libraries in Westgate and Newington

By Caitlin Webb, local democracy reporter

Women will be able to pick up free sanitary products from libraries in part of the county.

In an attempt to tackle "period poverty", Kent County Council is planning to launch a new scheme so free sanitary products will be available for those in need in libraries.

Libraries in Thanet will become distribution points for free tampons and pads for anyone in Westgate and Newington.

New development plans for the UKC on display at St Stephens Community Centre.Graham Gibbens, Cabinet member for adult social services, KCC (2581868)
New development plans for the UKC on display at St Stephens Community Centre.Graham Gibbens, Cabinet member for adult social services, KCC (2581868)

The councillor in charge of public health, Graham Gibbens (Con), said: “I want to improve the health and wellbeing of girls and women.

"There is anxiety over possible humiliation which can lead to low self-esteem as well as a danger of infection and poor hygiene if sanitary protection is not changed regularly.

“We also want to reduce the instances of girls and women missing school, college or work owing to a lack of sanitary protection.”

Women spend on average an estimated £4,800 in a lifetime.

"We need to do some something as people in this day and age shouldn't be using newspaper or toilet roll - it's appalling..." Cllr Ida Linfield

Primary and secondary schools in Kent are already providing products as part of The Red Box Project to their pupils.

However having these facilities at public libraries could remove the stigma of having to go to the food banks for tampons for adults.

While this is a step in the right direction, Cllr Ida Linfield (Lib Dem) believes the pilot should be expanded to the whole county so young people know where to access them.

She said: "Schools, by and large, are mostly sorted but what about the children who have left school and are missing work.

The Red Box Project aims to ease period poverty
The Red Box Project aims to ease period poverty

"It's a good step that they are doing a trial in Thanet but do people not realise there are deprived people all over Kent? One trial is not sufficient.

"We need to do some something as people in this day and age shouldn't be using newspaper or toilet roll - it's appalling.

"It's frightening when you get a period and you're already feeling ghastly, with all those horrible feelings that you get, and then you're stuck and you don't know where you can go for help."

The representative of Canterbury says she is ring-fencing £500 of her community grant to her local food bank for sanitary products and toilet paper.

The Red Box Project are accepting donations of underwear and sanitary products but only tampons in sealed boxes.

For information about their collection points in Kent and Medway go to redboxproject.org

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