University of Manchester students launch ‘Time of the Month’ campaign to deliver free tampons to city’s homeless women

Campaign coordinator asks: 'Are homeless women supposed to write ‘tampons please?’ on a piece of cardboard and hold it up for all to see?'

Jennifer Sterne
Wednesday 03 February 2016 14:37 GMT

Students from the University of Manchester are launching a ‘Time of the Month’ campaign to collect much-needed sanitary products for homeless women on the streets of the city, offering them somewhere safe and non-judgemental to go to get the supplies.

The controversial ‘tampon tax’ has meant the essential sanitary products can be expensive for some and, for those without anything at all, impossible to get their hands on.

Therefore, Time of the Month Manchester has stepped in to help tackle the issue by, not only collecting donations of sanitary products, but also by setting up a safe place for the women to come to when they need support during their time of the month.

Jodie Louise Connor, vice-chair of Student Action - the volunteering wing of the university's students’ union and key co-ordinator of the project - decided to take action because she believed “something needs to change” about how the system currently helps homeless women.

She highlighted how difficult the time can be for women, even those who are not homeless. She said: “Everyone who’s ever experienced a period knows the grim reality of them, and those fortunate enough not to have had one can begin to imagine the dreaded feeling that follows.

For homeless women, these issues are the least of their worries and, for them, their time of the month is much more daunting, explained the team. Connor told the Independent the thought of facing problems whilst living on the street is what sparked the project, and described how women living on the streets have no money for food, drink or shelter, let alone any money for sanitary products.

She said: “The majority of us are disgusted with the fact these ‘luxury’ items are taxed and feel like we are being punished for being on our period. Why should we have to pay?

“Well, what about the women who can’t; the women who cannot maintain their dignity when on their period whilst living on the streets? Are they supposed to steal the items? Are they supposed to write ‘tampons please?’ on a piece of cardboard and hold it up for all to see?”

‘Time of the Month’ is to be officially launched on 25 February alongside the well-received Reclaim the Night march which aims to “light up the city” and reclaim the streets of Manchester in order to make female students feel safe while walking through at night-time.

Entrance to the events after the march is going to be paid for in sanitary products so the Time of the Month team can begin to raise awareness of their project and also to start the drive for donations.

All donations will be distributed to local charities and refuges around Manchester. There will also be donation collection bins set up across the University of Manchester campus, with two of them becoming permanent bins all year round.

For more information and to find out how you can get involved, please visit Time of the Month Manchester.

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