Burnley mum of two spearheading campaign to end misery of 'period poverty' for all women

The shocking statistic that 137,700 girls in the UK miss school because they cannot afford or don't have access to essential sanitary products struck such a chord with a Burnley mum of two she simply could not sit back and do nothing.

So Sam Wright launched Project Health and Hygiene and the response has been so successful she now has stock to donate more than 2,500 period 'pamper packs' to vulnerable girls and women in Burnley.

The packs, funded by a National Lottery grant, contain sanitary products and items such as a body spray, facemask or mini lip gloss, mascara and other items that will provide a confidence boost.

If her project is a success, Sam plans to continue with it indefinitely and is even preparing to lobby the government to make sanitary products free to all women.

Sam (centre front) with coaches and gymnasts at the BEST Centre and some of the pamper packs they have put together for females in Burnley

She said: "They are not a luxury item and shouldn't be considered as such, they are a basic, essential item for all females."

Sam launched the project from the BEST Centre sports facility in Hapton, the business she has owned and run with her husband Darren for the past decade. Also home to Burnley Gymnastics Club, coaches, children and their parents have all played a role in supporting the project through donations and also by helping to put the packs together. It has also been an opportunity to educate the young gymnasts about the need for a project like this.

Sam, who is 33 and mum to Ella ( eight) and five-year-old Louis said: "This just means so much to me and the support we have received has been fantastic.

"Thirty per cent of schoolgirls don't go to school because they cant afford pads.

Sam with one of the 2,500 pamper packs she will be distributing as part of her campaign to end 'period poverty' for women

"When I hear statistics like that, as a mother part of me dies inside. Growing up I wanted for nothing and it makes me sad that women and girls don't have access to basic essential such as sanitary towels and pads and this prevents them from living their lives."

Sam aims to hand out the first 1,000 packs by the end of next week, working in partnership with a range of different charities and organisations. And she has launched a fund raising campaign to bring in £2,500 to fund more packs.

‘Period poverty’ means being unable to access sanitary products and having a poor knowledge of menstruation, often due to financial constraints.

In the UK, one in 10 girls can’t afford to buy menstrual products, while one in seven have struggled to afford them, according to a representative survey of 1,000 girls and young women aged 14-21 by Plan International UK.

In March 2017, Freedom4Girls found that students in the UK are missing school because of this issue. The charity provides access to safe menstrual products in Kenya, but their findings revealed that period poverty was an issue that also hit closer to home.

Sam said: "This was a problem before Covid 19 but the pandemic has made it a lot worse for so many women.

"There are women who have to choose between buying food to put on the table or a packet of pads or tampons and also there are many women who rely on an abusive partner to buy their products.

"Imagine turning down a job interview because your period has arrived and you can't afford sanitary products?

"These are just some of the stories but no vulnerable female should have to ask for what she needs. I don't have to ask so why should any other woman?

"There are so many women out there who need their confidence building back up during covid, before covid and after covid who haven't had access to these products. They need to know that they have 'got this' because we've got their backs."

Sam is also passionate about breaking the taboo surrounding menstruation which can have a devastating effect on girls going through puberty. Many of them may feel embarrassed and are afraid to ask for help if they can't discuss what is happening to their bodies with family at home.

Sam added: "Menstruation happens to all women and it's vital to educate young girls about what is happening to their bodies so they understand it and know how to cope with and manage the changes, discomfort and pain.

"It shouldn't be a taboo subject. It's part of life."