Red Box Project
Chessington School has joined up with the Red Box Project, an initiative that quietly ensures that no woman misses out on her education because of her period.
In the UK, some young people in our schools are finding it difficult to access sanitary products. This results in tearful panics, anxious embarrassment, missed lessons and a missed education. The Red Box Project is a community-driven project to provide period products to girls. It was set up in March 2017 by three friends from Portsmouth who read about ‘Period poverty’ in the news and were angered that girls were missing out on their education because they couldn't afford the products needed during their period. They decided to take action and contacted several secondary schools to ask if a constantly stocked box of sanitary wear would be welcomed. The feedback from teachers was overwhelming, confirming the resource was needed. They recognised this issue was nationwide and invited individuals all over the country to be part of the movement, and across the land, people began to set up Red Boxes of tampons and towels in their local schools and libraries for people to donate into them.
Chessington School is now part of the Red Box Project and the first school in Kingston to receive their box. Tracy Dale, Chair of Chessington PTA, read about the Red Box Project and asked Student Reception and the Wellbeing Team if they thought it was a good idea – “YES!” was the immediate answer – so she contacted Amy Buddle, Kingston Red Box co-ordinator and asked how the school could get involved. Amy came in for a meeting and talked through the project, facts about period poverty and the contents of the box with students, Well Being team, Student Reception and members of the Student Council. They all openly discussed (and laughed!) about some of their worst period mishaps and nightmares and agreed if they could help stop another girl from having to go through what they had been through and miss out on any of her education, then it was definitely a project worth getting involved with. Amy delivered our own fully stocked Red Box which now sits in Student Reception with Miss Sapsed. Any girl can come along and ask for the box, no questions asked, she can take whatever she needs, and doesn't miss a moment of her education. The box contains towels, pads, tampons, new knickers, small plastic bags and black tights. All students will be informed about the Red Box.
Across Kingston, there are donation points for the Red Box Project which Amy has set up. You can find them at Tolworth Library, Surbiton Library, Hook and Chessington Library, New Malden Library, Tolworth Recreation Centre and Geneva Road Day Centre. If you are planning on visiting any of these places, please take along a packet of pads/tampons/new knickers/black tights to pop into one of the donation boxes. You can, of course, donate directly into the box at school. This whole project relies on donations and volunteers.
There are some shocking facts on Period Poverty:
1 in 10 girls aged 14 to 21 can’t afford menstrual products. In London, this number is closer to one in seven.
- Half of all schoolgirls miss a full day of school because of their period
- Schoolgirls in Leeds were using socks instead of sanitary towels
- Labour MPs pledged to set aside £10 million to end period poverty
- Scotland was the first country in the world to give free tampons to low-income families
- The average UK woman will spend more than £18,000 on periods over her lifetime
- The UK still charges a 5% tax on menstrual products, while other countries, such as India, have scrapped the tax on these products entirely