Council of Northern Ireland partners with Hey Girls to fight recurrent poverty

Antrim and Newtonabby City Council is stepping up its efforts to tackle the “periodic poverty” that affects one in ten women.

It aims to help those affected through education, free access to reusable food, and community outreach.

This item was proposed during a meeting of the community and council’s planning committee this month.

The committee will work with an officer on climate change and sustainable development, and on education and waste awareness.

The Council stated that the period of poverty “is a serious problem affecting women and girls in the area who do not have access to hygiene products due to low income.”

The six-month pilot program will aim to tackle the period of poverty outside the school term following legislation passed by the Northern Ireland Assembly in March to provide free tampons and pads in schools, colleges and public buildings.

A spokesperson for the council said: “The initiative came about as a result of the cost of living crisis and discussions with our local community organizations who are already hard at work addressing numerous incarceration measures.

“We were aware that Belfast City Council had also implemented a similar scheme to provide free reusable period items in their area.

“This pilot project will help alleviate this needless worry for our youth.”

According to Hey Girls, a social enterprise that hopes to eradicate intermittent poverty and with which the council is partnering. Sanitary goods are also the least donated item in food banks.

According to the council, the proposed investment of £3,000 aims to “encourage the use of reusable and eco-friendly sanitary wares and thereby address recurrent poverty” by placing Hey Girls’ waste-free reusable and eco-friendly products in public facilities such as Ballyclare. City Hall, pavilions and community centers.

In addition, Hey Girls will deliver groceries and conduct an educational and outreach program about reusable products in neighborhood renewal areas.

A council spokesperson emphasized that this will be part of a broader education program that will “include an educational dimension working with our community organizations to provide education and awareness about reusable period products and their practical uses, environmental impact and overall menstruation awareness through educational flashcards. “.

Hey Girls founder and CEO Celia Hodson was forced to found Hey Girls in Scotland in 2018 after a period of poverty. It has since grown into a UK-wide network with 18 employees and has previously campaigned to set up historical period banks in libraries, educate fathers and help them communicate with their daughters.

“We learned about Hey Girls through our research, connections with our climate change and sustainability teams, and other local council projects,” a council spokesperson said.

“We look forward to working with Hey Girls to raise awareness and education about reusable products through this six-month pilot project.”

The sanitary products are made from eco-friendly bamboo, contain no bleaching toxins, and are designed to last five to ten years.

In addition to being more environmentally friendly, reusable sanitary ware can also reduce costs by up to 80%.

“As a council, we are committed to supporting climate change,” the spokesperson added.

“This initiative was developed in collaboration with our climate change and sustainability teams, as well as our education and waste awareness teams.

“Switching from disposable tampons to reusable menstrual cups will significantly reduce the associated carbon footprint of menstrual products.

“This pilot initiative will ensure that single-use products are biodegradable or recyclable, which will support zero waste initiatives.”