Northampton Mayor launches drive to collect sanitary products for women in shelters and refugees

"There is more of a push for sanitary products because they run out very quickly."

Friday, 5th November 2021, 9:15 am

The Mayor of Northampton has launched a donation drive in a bid to collect sanitary products and toiletries for women in need across the county.

Mayor Rufia Ashraf has requested for donations of sanitary products, feminine care, new toiletries and gift sets to be brought to the One Stop Shop at the Guildhall in Northampton town centre. Donations of children's gifts and toys are also being welcomed in the run-up to Christmas.

The donations will be distributed between the Northamptonshire Domestic Abuse Service (NDAS), Home Start and the Eve Domestic Abuse.

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Mayor Rufia Ashraf

Councillor Ashraf, who is a trustee of NDAS, said: "I have chosen NDAS as my charity because I chose the charity as part of my mayoral year and, to me, it is important because domestic abuse - as you know - is a heinous crime and it should not happen.

"Women, who have to leave violent relationships, have to leave everything behind. Having worked alongside the domestic abuse service, I know first hand what they struggle to get through donations they receive and there is more of a push for sanitary products because they run out very quickly."

Councillor Ashraf additionally claimed that period poverty is also a 'big issue' across schools and she plans to extend the donation drive to them as well.

She continued: "It is a temporary collection at the moment but I am going to make it more permanent next year so that we have one registered donation spot depending on the uptake."

The Red Box project was set up in Northampton in 2019 when Emma Smith, 28, from Pineham, took on the volunteer coordinator role to try and end period poverty in this town.

The purpose of the project was to give young people access to menstrual products so that they do not have to miss out on their education as a result of not being able to afford the products they needed.

The Red Box project relied on donations from the community to provide red boxes filled with period products, including sanitary towels, spare underwear for children aged 10 and over and black tights.

The project in Northampton has since been closed since the UK government rolled out a scheme in 2020 to all schools and colleges in England making period products free to all students to access. The scheme is being delivered by phs Group on behalf of the Department for Education but schools and colleges have to sign up and place orders to receive the period products.

To find out more about the Red Box Project, visit their website http://redboxproject.org/.

Donations can be dropped off at the One Stop Shop at the Guildhall in Northampton town centre from 9am to 5pm every day until December 22.