Leeds Trinity to provide free period products to students and staff in new initiative

Leeds Trinity has launched an initiative to offer free period products to students, staff and guests.

After a discussion between senior leaders at the University and Yvonne Burton, Student Support Duty Manager, it was decided to get a dispenser machine in every hall of residence, the main building and the library.

The machines will be in an area that is accessible and private for everyone, whether that’s students, staff or visitors, Yvonne told the YEP.

She said she was passionate about period poverty after raising three daughters.

Student Support Duty Manager, Yvonne Burton

"I know what a toll it can take, not just mentally but financially too", she told the YEP.

"These products are a necessity, not a luxury, and every person needing sanitary products should be able to access them, regardless of their circumstances.

"This is why we have implemented a new initiative at Leeds Trinity University which will see students and staff have access to free period products across our Horsforth campus.

"Having worked in education throughout my career, I realise the impact our menstrual cycles can have on our day-to-day life.

"For some, it is embarrassment of not having the best products or hearing derogatory comments like, “it’s their time of the month” or “they’re in a bad mood, they must be on their period”.

"These are comments and issues we could do without when already having to deal with our periods!"

The machines will ensure that women who might not be able to afford period products, or those who might get caught out or aren’t prepared, can access products whenever they need them.

Yvonne said it could make the difference of making it to a lecture or staying in work that day, without feeling like the world knows what is happening.

Period Poverty UK said that ‘there are vulnerable women in every society, where the lack of affordability or access to period products causes extreme distress’ and ‘many women on low incomes, even those in professional roles, are struggling to afford sanitary products.’

"This has become more apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic for students", Yvonne explained.

"I worked on campus through the various lockdowns, so I was able to support and guide students on coping through lockdown and day to day life.

"I noticed there was a recurring theme around cost and lack of supplies that was causing some students distress.

"Now of course, there is a rise in the cost of living. This is where my idea for a period poverty initiative on campus stemmed from."

Action Aid UK has highlighted how 1 in 8 women have struggled to buy period products, even resorting to their own makeshift methods during their periods.

"We have to remember that this is not just a case of having free products available, but to be informative so everyone will understand the need to manage safely the hygienic side of menstrual cycles", Yvonne continued.

"This is a long-term project launching this week to be in place before our new cohort of students start in September 2022, which we will constantly monitor and improve. I hope it makes a real difference."