The RCN implemented a collection box for the RCN Woman’s Health Conference in November 2019, with great success at their Headquarters in London, and RCN HQ staff and attendees to the conference were offered the opportunity to donate packets of sanitary products, which were distributed to two organisations: Bloodygoodperiod, who collect and distribute products to refugees and asylum seekers, and a further large box was sent to a foodbank in Camden.
This was extended across the RCN estate in March 2020 for International Woman’s Day, with most RCN offices actively engaging in this process. Contact with some offices revealed an ongoing process of contributing to local charities and foodbanks.
We also hosted a Twitter chat in November 2019, to discuss period poverty in health and care settings: #RCNchat, which proved popular and enlightening. Nurses discussed the distress that period poverty causes to physical and mental health of their patients and also shared disturbing personal experiences of period poverty.
Girl Guides launched a campaign and now have a new End Period Poverty badge.
In Cornwall the period poverty work going on at the moment is through Brook. They are running a programme called Let’s Talk Period. It is funded through the Tampon Tax grant and managed through Brook. It is being evaluated by Plan International UK.
West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, has a 'Tampon Fairy' (who is a CNS specialising in women's health), who provides free products in the toilets for anyone to access and use, which has been well received by many.
RCN West Midlands (2019) collected sanitary products and then distributed these to homeless shelters within the City. They keep a big red box in the office just for this purpose so staff, activists and members can pop these in at any time. They also ask branches to promote period poverty during 2019 and 2020, as they hold 60 local learning events between them throughout the year.
RCN Bolton office have been carrying out collections for a number of years. They have regular collections and have a designated collection point in the staff room. They support a local charity based in Bolton called Fresh as a Daisy.
RCN Congress 2019. In 2019, the Bolton office staff were also responsible for organising a collection at RCN Congress 2019. It was hoped to repeat this exercise in 2020, however due to the Coronavirus pandemic, RCN Congress 2020 has been postponed to 2021.
RCN Northern Region, based in Sunderland, already have a scheme in that we do bring in sanitary products to put in our food bank parcels which we donate regularly. We also as a team utilise the two giving back days to actually go and work in the foodbank, and have engaged in sorting and packing food, assisting with the collection and delivery of food and even re-decorating the food bank premises.
RCN Scotland offices in Edinburgh and Glasgow contributed to the 2020 collection for International woman’s day, and free products are now available for staff and members in the main toilets in the Scotland HQ in Edinburgh.
RCN Wales Headquarters at Ty Maeth have been carrying out collections for a number of years, with staff bringing in products which have then been donated to the Huggard Centre, a local day centre and hostel for people who are sleeping rough, and most recently a box sanitary products was donated to the Cardiff Foodbank. The RCN Wales team has also registered their interest in volunteering at the Cardiff Foodbank going forward.
RCN Cardiff Gate office (including RCN Direct) donated sanitary products in aid of International Women’s Day. They divided the collection between the local foodbank and a nearby hospital. Some midwives at the hospital were appealing for donations of sanitary products for women who were in need and did not have any essential products.