NEW measures have been announced to tackle period poverty as free sanitary products will be available in schools from September.

Never again should a young person have to miss out on their education because they cannot afford products to enable them to go to school.

The new plans were announced by Phillip Hammond during the Spring Statement on Wednesday, March 13.

Addressing MPs, he congratulated those who had campaigned for the provision, adding that Education Secretary Damian Hinds would give further details in due course.

Mr Hammond said: “In response to rising concern by headteachers that some girls are missing school attendance due to inability to afford sanitary products, I have decided to fund the provision of free sanitary products in secondary schools and colleges in England from the next school year.”

The announcement came after numerous groups and activists got behind young woman Amika George, who had been campaigning to provide free sanitary products for all children.

But while the new rules come into play, dedicated groups across the country are working to ensure young women are supported ‘from day one’, and never have to miss a day of school because they are on their period.

The Red Box Project was started as a community initiative in March 2017.

Since then, activists have taken it upon themselves to tackle the issue in their area.

Now groups from Scotland and down to Cornwall are running their own Red Box Project.

A spokesman for the Taunton and Wellington group said: “Period poverty affects a lot of people in Taunton and wellington the number of boxes we have supplied is testimony to that, it’s is so much more than just being able to afford sanitary products all of our schools, colleges , groups have been very grateful to receive their box and we are regularly told how they are helping the young woman.

“We were thrilled to hear Phillip Hammond announce funding for secondary schools and colleges from September and look forward to hearing what this will look like as plans are made we very much hope that the government will also support primary schools as it is incredibly vital that young woman are supported from day one until then we will continue to support all of our schools with top ups and would love to continue to grow and get more boxes into schools.”

You can arrange your free box by emailing the project or if you would like to set up a donation point email

Meanwhile, a similar group is also working in South Somerset.

Cerri Killworth, who helps run the Red Box Project in Chard said she welcomes the announcement, but knows more work needs to be done to ensure all children in need of free sanitary products are able to get them, including those in primary school.

She added: “We are delighted that Philip Hammond has announced in his Spring Statement a commitment to funding menstrual products in secondary schools and colleges, but we argue that this policy must be extended to include all children in full-time compulsory education, such as those in primary schools.

“We hope to see further commitment from the Government in meeting the needs of all children who menstruate, regardless of their age. Every child should have an equal opportunity to participate in their education; this is their fundamental human right.

“We will continue to support secondary schools with sanitary products, knickers, tights etc until the Government roll out of the new scheme which is due to start in September 2019, there may of course be some cross over.

“When the Red Box Project started, it was always our intention to keep girls in school when no one else was. And now, finally, Scottish, Welsh and English governments are all starting to meet their legal obligations.”

Mr Hammond said he welcomed ‘sensible suggestions’ on how to tackle period poverty in primary schools.

But Ms Killworth says summer and Christmas holidays also need to be taken into consideration.

She added: “There is also the six week summer holiday to consider, many young women will require our support during this time and just like at Christmas we will be providing our schools with extra supplies to ensure the most vulnerable and in need have the products they require.

“Our work is not yet finished as some young women start their periods as early as eight or nine years old, so our focus will be to provide primary schools with these products, as well as asking any youth groups to get in contact so that we can provide them with any products outside of a secondary school setting.

“We urge any primary schools to contact us for support and in the meantime we will continue behind the scenes to lobby and encourage the Government to support these schools too.

“Please continue to support the Red Box Project as we will continue to support all children with free sanitary products regardless of their educational setting.”

Where do the boxes go? 

Taunton Academy
Heathfield Community School
YMCA Taunton
Selworthy School
Priorswood Primary School
Minerva Primary School
Compass wellbeing centre
Bishops hull primary school
West monkton primary school
North town primary
Richard Huish College
Bishop Foxes Secondary school
St James Park Primary
St Georges Catholic school
Wellesley Park Primary, wellington
Kingsmead Community School
Stogumber Primary
Cotford St Luke Primary
Red Park Equestrian
Hair Academy 
Bishops lydeard primary school
Court Fields

Where can you donate in Taunton Deane? 

Indelible Inc.
Yummy Mummy Hair & Beauty
Well Pharmacy 
St Luke's Centre, Cotford St Luke
Beaux Health and Wellbeing
Greggs (Wellington) 
Wellington sports centre
Expressions Hair & Beauty