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Tackling Period Poverty

#OpenTheConversationAboutMenstruation

What is period poverty and why is it important?

Period poverty is when you are unable to access or afford period products because of financial constraints. Sometimes this can also mean individuals have a poor knowledge of menstruation, making the topic one of shame and embarrassment. No one should be held back because of a natural bodily process. We feel that students should be able to manage their menstruation in a safe and comfortable way, without shame or stigma.

What's currently available?

  • The 'Caught Short on Campus' scheme, provided by the University in partnership with the Students' Union, allows students to approach the help points across City campus, Collegiate campus and The Hubs to ask for free period products.
  • Those with financial difficulties can access the Hallam Hardship Fund, or request an Emergency Voucher.

Latest Updates

Trialling free products in toilets

At the Students' Union we believe menstruating should not be a barrier to education, and that products should be accessible for our students. Our previous wellbeing, sport and physical activity officer pledged to provide free period products across campus, and this resulted in the launch of the Caught Short on Campus Scheme in September 2021. This scheme currently requires students and staff to approach specific help desk points to ask for period products, which are provided free of charge. Our research sought to formalise student views on the issue of period poverty and accessibility of products, whilst campaigning to bring awareness to period poverty as a student wellbeing concern. The survey was completed by 202 students and highlighted numerous accessibility barriers of the Caught Short scheme. We have since begun discussions with the university Estates and Facilities Team about the feasibility of having free period products in toilets across campus. The Students' Union planned and funded a small pilot of free products in select toilets which we monitored the usage of between the 17th – 28th October 2022. Once we have collated this data we can present a case to the University for them to fund & supply free period products in university toilets. 

Subscription Scheme

In an effort to address and eradicate period poverty for students, we are currently working with the Student Funding Team, to find a solution that will support those struggling to finance their periods. We are planning a subscription scheme for students, to ensure that they have the products required to cover their cycle. You will be able to apply to the scheme on the SHU Wellness webpage, once the subscription is confirmed you will be able to pick up your free packs each month from selected locations. The launch of the subscription service as well as pick up dates & locations are all to be confirmed. 

Contact Us & Get Involved

Any students and staff interested in supporting us to implement the free product trial, please get in touch at studentrights@shu.ac.uk.

We also want to decrease the stigma around menstruation. Tell us your funniest or most awkward period-related stories!