The College of West Anglia

MEP Alex Mayer Visits College to Launch New Scheme to Fight Period Poverty

Euro MP Alex Mayer visited the college King’s Lynn campus on International Women’s Day to officially launch the Red Box Project to eradicate period poverty amongst young women.

Trazy Howe, a college staff member, wanted to introduce the three-year old Red Box Project to the college after hearing about the problem of period poverty. It is a national scheme which encourages local people to donate sanitary products, and then place big red boxes brim full of sanitary towels and tampons in schools and colleges for anyone to make use of free of charge.

MEP Alex Mayer with college Assistant Principal, Andrew Gedge (centre) joined by students and staff members.

Estimates show around 137,700 girls across the country miss school or college each year because they are unable to afford tampons and pads. Meanwhile tampons in boxes across the college will Ms Mayer says, “simply normalise the topic and combat stigma.” Backing the campaign, Alex Mayer MEP, who is has spoken out against period poverty in the European Parliament said: “Period poverty is a real problem but sometimes it can be hidden. But when a young woman just can’t afford sanitary protection, what choices do they have? Use loo roll, or miss college to save embarrassment? Plus what if you’ve just forgotten to bring a tampon with you? Now that’s a thing of the past at the College of West Anglia thanks to this scheme.”

Andrew Gedge, Assistant Principal at the College of West Anglia said: “According to Plan International UK, one in 10 girls are unable to afford sanitary products every month. The college are committed to ending period poverty and working to eradicate the stigma that exists across the UK. We hope that with the launch of the new campaign we are able to provide free sanitary products to those who need it in order to ensure that each and every one of our students are able to access the education that they deserve. Our recent Ofsted report indicated that we have an inclusive and supportive college environment and this is an example of such an approach that benefits our fantastic student community.”