Sanitary products anniversary

Millions of free period products delivered.

More than eight million free sanitary products were provided to school, college and university students across Scotland in the first six months of a world-leading new scheme.

The initiative – backed by £5 million of Scottish Government funding and delivered by local authorities, colleges and universities - aims to make sure free provision is there for all students who need it.

Every local authority is taking part, with arrangements in place to ensure pupils also have access to products during the school holidays. 

In addition, some colleges and universities have been able to provide free sanitary products for part-time students or distance learners. 

On a visit to the University of Edinburgh to view how the scheme has been rolled out, Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell said:

“Being able to access period products is fundamental to equality and dignity. We are committed to ensuring that a lack of access to products does not impact on a student’s ability to fully participate in education.

“It is important that we encourage people to challenge the stigma around periods and talk more openly about them. Removing the barriers to accessing period products helps that conversation. It has been great to hear about the different ways the products have been delivered and made available to those who need them.”

Andy Shanks, Director of Student Wellbeing at the University of Edinburgh, said:

“The success of this project is the result of support from so many people across the University. With funding from the Scottish Government we have been able to offer products to help more people. The government’s ongoing support is invaluable as we move towards our target of being entirely sustainable in this area.”

Oona Miller, Vice President Welfare at Edinburgh University Students’ Association, said:

“We are delighted by the success of the free sanitary products initiative and we would like to thank the Scottish Government for their support. I would personally like to thank the University’s cleaning team, and staff at the Students’ Association’s Advice Place who have done so much to help - from monitoring and replenishing stock to placing the orders for what is needed. They have helped bring a sense of community and a valued service to those who need it.”

The Scottish Government was the first government in the world to provide free access to sanitary products in schools colleges and universities.

Provisional data suggests that more than 5,095,051 sanitary products were purchased by local authorities over the first six months of delivery at a cost of £566,909 excluding VAT. 

By February 2019, all colleges and universities had made progress towards delivering the Programme for Government commitment to provide access to free sanitary products.

Based on available data from 24 colleges, 878,604 sanitary products were purchased up to  February 2019. Based on data from 19 universities, 2,296,474 sanitary products were purchased between September 2018 and February 2019.

The Scottish Government is providing up to £5.5 million to continue delivery of this policy in 2019/20.


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