By Sophie Doherty
A KIND-HEARTED lady is helping hundreds of girls across the community by bringing the Red Box Project to Saddleworth to help put a stop to ‘period poverty’.
The initiative was started by three friends in 2017 who found it concerning that young women were missing out on education because of their period.
Since then, thousands of volunteers have made a difference across the UK by organising donations of free sanitary wear in schools so no young woman misses school because she has her period.
Bev Bennett, a former Mossley Hollins pupil now living in Greenfield, decided she wanted to reach out and help local girls who are struggling with this problem.
“I have recently become aware that many girls miss school due to not being able to afford sanitary products,” she said.
“Of all the stories I have read, this one really moved me to want to help: “I wrapped a sock around my underwear just to stop the bleeding. It breaks my heart that girls have to go through this.
“Indeed, some girls have to choose between buying lunch or sanitary protection while others miss lessons at school rather than go to school in fear of ‘leaking’ and be subject to ridicule.
“The reality is if people are already struggling to pay bills, buy food and other household costs, things like sanitary products often come bottom of the list.
“There are also other social and cultural reasons why there is no access to these products.”
It was after watching the current Always advert about period poverty that Bev decided to act, making donations and asking friends and family to do the same.
Then she discovered the Red Box Project and is now working with schools locally to give them access to a red box containing sanitary protection and new underwear, collected via donations.
Saddleworth School has agreed to join the scheme and Bev is in also discussions with other local schools.
Bev has placed donation boxes in Tesco’s, Greenfield with the help of community champion Greg Barratt, Doubledays Newsagents and to Co-op in Top Mossley, Uppermill Sports Club, Turners Dry Cleaners and Authentic in Uppermill and Friezland Church Hall on Wednesday evenings.
And the Co-op has also made a donation to the project and are buying red bins to place at donation points (instead of current cardboard boxes) and are donating sanitary products too.
Bev is looking for donations of pads, tampons, wipes and underwear in different sizes, and donations from the local community will ensure the boxes never becomes empty.
“To say I am overwhelmed with the generosity of the public is an understatement,” she said after delivering her first batch of donations to Saddleworth School.
“The donation boxes will be kept in place so we can keep donations coming in. On behalf of all those girls that these donations will help I thank all the people who donated from the bottom of my heart.”
Find more information about The Red Box Project locally on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Red-Box-Project-Mossley-and-Greenfield-325194791561980/
Find out more about the national scheme online: http://redboxproject.org