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Free sanitary products in 'period poverty' pilot project

The Scottish Government-backed initiative will run in Aberdeen for six months.

Sanitary products: Community Food Initiatives North East will distribute items.
Sanitary products: Community Food Initiatives North East will distribute items.

Free sanitary products are to be offered to women and girls from low-income backgrounds in Aberdeen as part of a pilot project.

The six-month initiative is backed by £42,500 of Scottish Government funding, which it said will "inform" the future approach to the issue of "period poverty" nationwide.

Under the move, the Community Food Initiatives North East will distribute the products, which the government estimates will be taken up by at least a thousand women and girls.

Dave Simmers, chief executive of the group, said it will work with partner agencies - including Women's Aid and Aberdeen Cyrenians - to run the pilot.

He added: "Over a woman's lifetime, sanitary products cost on average more than £5000, a significant sum for those on low incomes.

"Many cannot afford them and may use inappropriate methods or miss school. The findings of this pilot should be very useful in informing future action by the Scottish Government."

The group will also work with Aberdeen City Council and North East Scotland College to extend the pilot to provide tampons and towels to school pupils and college students from low-income households.

Equalities secretary Angela Constance announced the initiative on Tuesday.

She said: "It is unacceptable that any woman or girl in Scotland should be unable to access sanitary products. 

"That is why, as part of our wider aims to eradicate poverty from our country, we are exploring how to make products freely available to low-income groups.

"The pilot in Aberdeen is a first step to help us understand the barriers women and girls face - and to help us develop a sensitive and dignified solution to making these products easily accessible to those who need them."

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