Pilot leads to donation increase

Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin with volunteers Kelly and Kerry
Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin with volunteers Kelly and Kerry

A pilot scheme launched by the Scottish Government to help those facing period poverty has created more awareness of the issue, according to those leading the project.

SNP MSP Gillian Martin visited the project led by CFine in Aberdeen where she found out how the team and women participating in the scheme were getting on as it nears its half-way milestone.

It comes just a couple of weeks after the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon revealed further plans by the Scottish Government to look at providing free sanitary products to secondary, college and university students.

The pilot scheme, launched in July, is a six-month project working across a number of regeneration areas in Aberdeen.

More than £40,000 of funding has been provided to assist the project which allows women to sign-up and receive products free of charge.

Ms Martin made the visit to the CFine hub after she made previous calls to raise more awareness of period poverty across Scotland.

In 2016, the Aberdeenshire East representative put forward a joint resolution to National Council with the SNP’s Political Education Officer calling for the introduction of an ‘S-card’ which would allow women to access period products using a card either from their local supermarket or chemist.

She said the volunteers at CFine had spoken at events including Freshers Week in Aberdeen where students had expressed concern about the cost of products and the view they were a ‘luxury’ item.

Gillian Martin said: “Period poverty is a huge issue across Scotland – the problems being faced in Aberdeen are a microcosm of an issue challenging communities right across the country, that’s why the work done by Dave Simmers and his team of volunteers like Kelly and Kerry is so important.

“The feedback I received from Kelly and Kerry on their visits to schools and colleges and universities reinforced that it would only be women who need sanitary products who would use the service.”

C-Fine Chief Executive Dave Simmers said: “CFINE was delighted to host a visit by Ms Martin, who had a tour of our facilities and met with women who volunteer with CFINE undertaking a range of responsibilities including delivering cooking training and who are involved in CFINE’s delivery of the Scottish Government’s pilot ‘Access to Free Sanitary Products’.