Ashton women launch campaign to end period poverty in Tameside’s schools
Monday 17th September 2018 @ 14:19 by Tom Greggan
Ashton Dukinfield Education News Tameside

Two Ashton women are doing their bit to help tackle period poverty in Tameside.

Cousins Niamh Halpin and Izzy Sykes, aged 18 and 21 respectively, have launched a campaign to supply schools in Tameside with free sanitary products for students, so that young girls aren’t forced to miss school because they families can’t afford them.

A study by onepoll.com found that more than 137,700 girls have missed school in the past year because they couldn’t afford sanitary products and 6 per cent of parents admitted to stealing on occasions when they couldn’t afford to buy them.

Explaining how their campaign came about, Niamh said: “My mum’s friend started it through work and she was going to donate to food banks. I thought the issue needed to be made a lot bigger, so Izzy and I took it upon ourselves. We’ve done raffles and set up a GoFundMe page. We’ve raised around £200 so far but it’s not enough for what we want.”

She added: “I think it should be a bigger issue but people are afraid of talking about it.”

Niamh and Izzy are hoping to raise £1500 but even that would only be enough to buy sanitary products for two of Tameside’s 13 high schools. “There is definitely a stigma attached to it,” Izzy said. “You can’t really talk to many boys about it without squirming. We can try and do this but we can only take it so far. It should be made available from the government. We can make a small difference.”

Dukinfield councillor, Jackie Lane, has seen first hand the difference that the girls make, as they have frequently donated sanitary products to the women’s refuge that she runs.

“It’s a great thing that the girls are doing,” she said. “I can remember the olden days of ripping up old sheets and towels and we don’t want to go back to that. What these girls are doing is a really tremendous and humbling thing. I think every woman will appreciate what they are trying to do.

“When women and young girls come into the refuge, sometime with their children, they are fleeing domestic violence and they come with nothing. It’s been a real godsend to us at the women’s refuge, so can you imagine what it’s going to be like for them to make it run in schools? It would be a fantastic thing. I hope people get on board and support these two young girls.”

You can help Niamh and Izzy to end period poverty in Tameside’s schools by donating to the cause at uk.gofundme.com/n3nxk9-period-poverty. Also, you can drop off sanitary products at the Together Centre in Dukinfield, which is acting as a collection point.