How old were you when you started your period? Early to mid-teens? It’s a pretty scary time, isn’t it? Now imagine starting your period and knowing you don’t have access to period products or can’t afford them. Period poverty is a very real issue in the UK. In 2017, a survey by Plan International UK reported that 1 in 10 girls had been unable to afford sanitary products; 1 in 7 had to ask to borrow sanitary wear from a friend due to affordability issues; and 1 in 10 had to improvise sanitary wear. It is estimated that currently, over 137,000 children across the UK have missed school days due to period poverty.
During the pandemic, period poverty increased sharply across the UK. One charity reported supplying almost six times as many menstrual products compared with before the pandemic started. Even food banks have started to supply period products.
With the rising cost of living, I expect period poverty will increase even more, so today I want to introduce you to Girl Pack, my chosen charity this year. In this blog post, I’ll be telling you more about Girl Pack and how you can help support them too!
Introducing Girl Pack
Girl Pack is a small charity based in Milton Keynes that distributes period packs to primary and secondary schools, community, family and children’s centres and local parish offices. The packs contain a pack of sanitary towels, a brand new pair of knickers, hand sanitiser and wipes.
They are available to everyone who menstrautes and they do not means test. If you need a pack, they are there! Last year, packs were also provided to refugees arriving from Afghanistan. Packs have also been sent to Ukraine in recent months.
I’ve chosen to support Girl Pack because they are a small charity and rely solely on donations and the support of the community to fund their work.
It saddens me that their packs are so, so needed, particularly in schools. Over 100 packs will be delivered to a school and within a few days the packs have been used and more are needed. It is an ongoing mission to provide these packs to those who need them.
In 2021, Girl Pack delivered 1700 packs and they were nearly halfway to that target within the first few months of the current financial year.
How it all started
Girl Pack was formed in 2018 by two teenagers and their mums who noticed their friends were facing gaining access to period products.
Paige Pilkington and Megan Head noticed that sometimes their friends were left in embarrassing or in uncomfortable situations if they started their period unexpectedly in school. This was often down to lack of money, cultural differences, or having no women to talk to for support.
Since then, they have continued to support the local community. Earlier this year, Jenny Head won the Mayor of Milton Keynes’ award for community and volunteering 2022. The charity continues to evolve and recognises that not everyone who menstruates identifies as a woman, so they hope to change their name later this year to become more inclusive.
How you can support Girl Pack
The packs cost just £2.50 to make and have a huge impact. Here are some ways that you can support Girl Pack on their mission to end period poverty in Milton Keynes.
The easiest way to support Girl Pack is to donate via their Just Giving page. Just £2.5o buys a pack for someone who needs it so even small donations will have a big impact. If you attend my supper clubs, I’ll be adding in an option when you buy tickets to donate.
Girl Pack has an Amazon wishlist where you can purchase items. This includes products for the period packs as well as items for their essential fundraising events throughout the year. You can order straight from Amazon and they will be delivered to Girl Pack at the MK Charity Hub in Kiln Farm. Easy peasy!
You can also volunteer some of your time to support Girl Pack. I went along to the MK Charity Hub one evening to help them pack over 300 period packs ready to go to schools across MK and it was such a fun evening. Unfortunately, they can only make the packs when they have enough products, so donations are also essential.
They are looking for volunteers for their stalls for the following events this summer:
- 18th June – Walton Summer Fair
- 25th June – Big Food Festival
- 26th June – Rickley Fest (Rickley Park Primary School)
- 2nd July – Newport Pagnell Carnival
- 9th July – West Bletchley Carnival
- 10th July – Wavendon Gate School Fair
- 7th August – Henry Allen Fun Day
- 27/28th August – Woburn Sands Music Festival
If you’d like to volunteer, email@example.com for more information.
Be a donation station
Girl Pack is also looking for businesses to become a ‘donation station’ for period products. All you need to do is have a box where people can drop off products! Molly’s Pantry already has one in her shop, but they need more across MK.
If you would like to become. donation station,firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Let’s end period poverty in Milton Keynes
I hope you will join me in supporting Girl Pack this year. They do such fantastic and essential work to support the community. After a tough couple of years, it’s more important than ever to spread a little kindness in your local community.
If you are a small business in Milton Keynes and would like to help me support Girl Pack this year, please email me email@example.com.