Health

The UK Supermarkets & Stores Offering Free Period Products

Plus, other period poverty initiatives supported by high street shops.

Tampons, feminine sanitary pads pattern on pink background. Hygiene care during critical days. Menstrual cycle. Caring for women's health. Monthly protection, hard shadow, copy space
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Period products shouldn’t be treated as a luxury item and, as period poverty campaigners have been saying for years, they shouldn’t even be treated as paid-for items at all. Now supermarkets across the UK are joining in on the fight to help end period poverty, and are offering free sanitary products in stores.

Period poverty — not being able to afford sanitary products — affects people all over the globe as well as right here in the UK. The Royal College of Nursing says around 137,000 children across the UK have missed a day of school because of their periods. With school closures, poverty levels rising, and the pandemic impacting what’s in the shops, accessing period products has become even more of a challenge for young people especially.

In the pandemic alone, Plan UK found out that 11% of girls aged 14-21 have not been able to afford period products, and almost a quarter surveyed struggled to find them in shops at all. So if you or anyone is in need of free sanitary products, here’s how and where you can find them on UK and Ireland high streets.

Lidl Ireland

Lidl Ireland has partnered with homeless charity Simon Community and Homeless Period Ireland to provide free pads and tampons to adults and children who need them. You can sign up for free monthly coupons through the Lidl Plus app, which will be distributed from May 3.

Morrisons

A new Morrisons’ initiative called “Ask for Sandy” allows customers who menstruate to discreetly access sanitary products from selected stores. The note which is found in certain shops reads: "Please don't feel shy. If you are in need or struggling for sanitary products go to our customer service kiosk (Next to Timpsons) and ask for a package that SANDY has left for you. You will then be given a FREE discreet envelope with what you need no questions asked."

Supermarkets Providing Period Product Donation Points

Boots

While you can’t currently access free menstrual hygiene products in Boots, the pharmacy is a brand partner of The Hygiene Bank. The Hygiene Bank supplies everything from period pads and tampons to shampoo and deodorant to people who need them. There’s product drop off points in big Boots retailers and by donating, you’ll be giving people the products they need that so often aren’t donated to food banks.

Superdrug

Superdrug works closely with hygiene poverty charity, Beauty Banks, which operates on the belief that being clean is a basic human right. They’re working to make hygiene poverty a thing of the past and to extend access to menstrual products to those who need them. They have donation points in over 100 Superdrug stores across the UK making it really easy to do your bit in the fight against period poverty.

Supermarkets Supporting Period Poverty Charities

ASDA, Co-op, & Waitrose

ASDA, the Co-op, and Waitrose are brand partners and supporters of Hey Girls UK, a period brand working to tackle period poverty across the UK. They have produced a line of chlorine and bleach-free, environmentally-friendly period products and by purchasing them, either from the Hey Girl UK website website or in a supporting supermarket, you’ll also be donating products to others in the UK who can’t afford to buy them. The company says it has donated 14.9 million period products since its inception.