Bristol’s Period Poverty Summit

Today’s guest blog comes from Councillor Helen Godwin, Cabinet Member for Women, Children and Families.

Marvin and I welcomed over 80 people from around the UK to Bristol for a summit to discuss Period Poverty and Bristol’s response.

Period Poverty remains a subject that  many people are not aware of, despite a number of high profile campaigns. A report in 2018 by Plan International indicated that around 137,000 girls across the UK are missing school every year because they have their period. Many of these young people live in families that simply cannot afford to buy period products. There is also a growing body of evidence that links Period Poverty with bullying, social isolation and mental health issues.

Bristol City Council made a unanimous decision in November 2018 to be the first English city to attempt to eradicate Period Poverty, and our first action will be to ensure all Bristol schools are supplied with products accessible to all children from school year 5 to year 13.

Earlier this month at a gathering of Bristol’s key city leaders a vote was held to decide the three key city priorities for 2019, and the city voted to support our work to eradicate Period Poverty in Bristol.

With this collective power and resource in mind, today’s summit was able to focus on how we can best ensure that no Bristolian should have to worry if they can afford to have their period.

Today we shared ideas about accessing period products, improving education around the availability and environmental sustainability of products. Most importantly, we explored how we can build closer ties between all those working on this very important issue. Today’s speakers and discussions gave incredible ideas and focus that will lead to action. We truly believe that Bristol can deliver. We will eradicate Period Poverty.

We already have businesses and organisations in the city doing their bit to tackle period poverty and part of today’s summit was to share their experiences and practical advice. I am proud that we are taking on this challenge collectively, as part of our One City Approach, achieving our aim  that Bristol is a city in which nobody is left behind.

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