The University and College Union branch at Newcastle College today launched its campaign to tackle period poverty by providing sanitary protection to students who cannot afford it.
Branch Women’s Officer Nicola Barrass said “Having your period should not be a barrier to coming to attending college. We want our women and girls to succeed and to be able to attend their classes in comfort and in dignity – and we are here to support those students who may need help to access feminine hygiene products and to ensure that they have every chance of fulfilling their academic potential”.
Newcastle College’s pastoral support team will distribute sanitary protection, in confidence, through the learning mentors. Anyone in need is asked to speak to any learning mentor.
Pastoral Support Manager Melanie Kay said she welcomes the initiative from UCU “Many of our students face financial barriers to education. Providing sanitary protection will go a long way to enable women and girls facing real hardship to be able to attend and be supported without stigma”.
Branch Secretary Anya Cook said “UCU is more than a traditional trade union – we are a professional association and we want to improve learning conditions for students as well as our staff. It is appalling that we have students who are in such a position of financial difficulty that they need this help. Our branch hopes to ease some of their financial hardship in providing basic sanitary care, reducing period poverty as a barrier to attendance thus enabling equality of access to education”.
Assistant Principal Lisa Hamilton-Murray said “This is a fantastic campaign and we will fully support it. We will be collecting donations of sanitary products in mentor offices from any colleagues who are able to contribute.”