We were very excited to deliver our first Red Box to Dunbar Grammar earlier this month.
At the foodbank we see a lot of women and girls who are struggling to afford sanitary products. If a family is unable to afford food and has been referred to us, that household may inevitably include women and girls struggling to access vital sanitary products. For this reason, we include a bag with towels and tampons (and some chocolate) whenever it is needed. However, once we started examining the evidence (both anecdotal and from recent surveys) we realised we wanted to do more to specifically support girls and young women in our schools who might need help.”
Most schools already stock a supply of sanitary towels but are generally only able to give out a couple at a time to cover emergencies. This is where the Red Box Project comes in. Originally started in Portsmouth, The Red Box Project aims to alleviate the anxiety, embarrassment and stress caused by lack of sanitary protection by sponsoring and stocking a red box filled with sanitary towels, tampons and spare underwear. Any young women in need of sanitary items will be able to access the Red Box discretely via a nominated member of staff and take what she needs. Not just for that moment but for the entirety of her period. The Red Box is marked halfway up the interior with a visible black line. Above the line is a phone number and when stocks fall below this line the school will call asking for it to be restocked. The aim is that this is done within 48 hours.
Any pupil in need of help will be able to ask for the “Red Box” at reception and access what she needs. It’s a simple “no-frills” approach which we hope will help girls who need it. We’re currently working with pupil support at Dunbar Grammar to ensure staff and girls are aware of the project and they know how to access it.
A record of when a box is restocked, what has been used and what stock is required will be kept in order to better meet the needs of the girls. We will also be liaising with the school to look at whether there has been a drop in missed classes or absenteeism related to girls having their period and for feedback from the girls who are using the box.
Thank you to Dunbar and East Linton Area Partnership for providing funding to support this initiative.
We will continue to collect sanitary donations through the foodbank to support this and we hope that these donations in conjunction with the area partnership funding will allow us to run a 12-month pilot of the project and assess need within the school.
If you would like to donate to our Red Box donations can be dropped off at the foodbank or in our donation points across the county.
Plans are underway to roll this out to other schools in the county in the coming months.