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Hygiene services provider phs Group has announced plans to offer its new coin-free sanitary vending machines to school for free as part of a new initiative to combat period poverty.
Developed in collaboration with schools, the vending machines provide access to free sanitary products without the use of a coin. Users can simply open the drawer of the vending machine and take their choice of product whenever needed.
As part of phs Period Poverty, a drive which aims to create a culture of period dignity, phs is leading the industry by offering this free-vending machine to schools free of charge.
Chris Brown, head of public sector at phs, said: “phs has worked closely with local authorities, schools and government to create a practical and affordable solution to period poverty. After being extensively trialled within schools, we’re confident coin-free vend machines within washrooms are the most accessible way of providing girls with access to free sanitary products. On our part, we pledge to provide these machines free of charge to schools as we honour our commitment to do the right thing when it comes to period poverty.”
Backed by campaigners, phs Period Poverty was launched with new research into the experiences and opinions of teenage girls on period poverty and periods.
The research report reveals nearly half of teenage girls believe period poverty prevents girls from doing well at school and a third believe it holds them back from achieving their aspirations.
The UK Government and Welsh Government have vowed to tackle period poverty by offering access to free menstrual products in all schools with a similar directive already in place in Scotland.
While this new pledge is a huge step forward, it will depend highly on how accessible these products are made in schools.
A fifth of girls say they have no access to free sanitary products at home or elsewhere and, although 6% say they understand there is access to free products at their school, they do not know where these can be accessed from.
Over three quarters of girls say they feel there should be free access to products in schools with free vending machines the most popular choice, supporting by 52% of girls.
Clare Noble, head of healthcare at phs, said: “There is still a stigma attached to talking about periods and period poverty – and this is wrong. There should be no barriers to tackling period poverty and only by lifting the lid and recognising the scale of the problem can we ensure that it is effectively addressed. Nine out of 10 girls are telling us that period poverty is a real issue, we should all be listening and compelled to take action.”
phs free-vend machines are available to schools at no cost subject to terms and conditions.
For more information head to phs.co.uk/periodpoverty, call phs on 029 2080 9090 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow on Twitter at @phsGroup and on LinkedIn at phs Group.
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