Your period, time of the month, Aunt Flo, monthly visitor, lady time, painters in, code red.
Whatever we call it I think we can all agree it's (roughly) five days of the month that totally suck!
Personally, if given the choice I would stay in the house for the full five days, hot water bottle firmly on my tummy and blanket wrapped round me. Ok, so now imagine this was never an option for you, even for one day of your period. Imagine you didn't have a sofa to curl up on, no kettle to fill a hot water bottle. Imagine being homeless and getting your period?! No access to sanitary products or even a shower to get clean. Doesn't really bear thinking about does it.
Our lady time is no longer a subject we can't talk about, and why should we keep quiet about it? A huge chunk of the population experiences a period every month. And our periods have hit the news recently for a couple of reasons, mainly because "tampon tax" has been a topic of conversation for some time now. The tax that is added to luxury items also applies to sanitary products. I think all women would agree that a tampon or sanitary towel is far from a luxury item! And also because of "period poverty", this is when women are in the position of having to make a choice between sanitary items and other household essentials. But when it comes to the homeless we often forget about the need for sanitary products. There are women having to use the likes of toilet roll and old rags in place of tampons or sanitary towels!
Simon Community Scotland have just launched a new initiative aimed at helping women during their time of the month. Simon Community help over 500 women experiencing homelessness every year. Through their street team in Glasgow they reach out to women and provide gender specific assistance supporting women in getting their lives back on track and providing emergency accommodation. Yesterday (23.08.17) they launched Period Friendly Points (PFP) throughout Glasgow to support women to get through their time of month with dignity. Period Friendly Points are places specifically set up for the homeless although it is hoped that this is something that will extend to other locations and will include the likes of coffee shops. These PFP will have free sanitary products, pants, disposable bags, wipes to allow women to feel clean and information leaflets offering help with using the products. As well as the essential products to get women through this time of month, there are people available to talk to, whether it's a question about Aunt Flo or just to have a chat. Many of these women have never spoken to anyone about their period, some don't know how long a tampon should be kept in or even what a period actually is! As well as the PFP the street team will be handing out Period Friendly Pax. These are compact bags containing the essentials.
A five day period costs Simon Community and their suppliers £15. This is for five towels, twelve tampons, three pairs of pants, travel wipes and disposable bags. You can help by donating. You can also offer your time as the charity are always looking for volunteers to help with re-stocking the PFP, sorting out supplies and packing the Period Friendly Pax or even just lending an ear to women who visit PFP and need someone to talk to.
To donate text PFPR28 to 70070 with the amount you want to donate - £5 or £10.
And next time Aunt Flo pays a visit, think about how lucky you are to be able to snuggle up on the sofa under your blanket.