I'm currently at school in Truro and have noticed the increasing amount of female homeless people over the last couple months. After some research, I realised that these women don't have easy access to supplies for their most basic sanitary needs. Together with a group of friends we intend to do something about this.
In England women make up 26% of the homeless service clients. At first we aim to start local, targeting Newquay and other parts of Cornwall but we aim to branch out if this becomes successful. The need for free help is increasing with higher and higher numbers of women on the streets. Our boxes will be handed out from food banks and homeless shelters as this is our only reliable and consistent way of reaching out.
It is hard to estimate the numbers of women rough sleepers as many women who are on the streets make efforts to ‘remain invisible’ by choosing places to sleep which are hidden from view and disguising their homeless status in some way. This means it would be difficult for us to just hand them out. The homeless aren't the only ones who need help, people who are relying on food banks may not have money to spare on something that the government deemed a 'luxury item', so the boxes can help anyone who needs one.
A woman in her lifetime uses on average 11,000 sanitary products, this amounts to £18,450 on tampons, pads and pain relief, how do you afford this if you're on the streets? The average period costs £492 annually, tampons costing an average of £7, this is a cost that women on the streets can't afford. Many women on the streets are choosing between food or tampons and food wins every time. By providing a woman with basic sanitary needs they are also given the dignity that they deserve.
Each box will provide a woman with:
> Pads/Tampons - These are basic items and essential for women on the streets, they are forced to use things that are demoralising and could potentially cause health issues
> Hand sanitiser - To keep themselves clean and to provide a sense of hygiene
> Wipes > Deodorant - These both are for comfort and personal needs, helping them to feel less uncomfortable
> Heat pads - To deal with cramps. Pain relief can't just be handed out and when they don't have access to hot water for water bottles or anyother way of dealing with pain, these are air-activated pads that stick straight onto the body to help relieve the pain.
£10 pounds can provide a woman with essentials for one month, £120 could provide a whole year. Whatever you pledge will be put towards providing the women with boxes. Whatever funding we get will will contine to use to create the packs.
"Such a thoughtful compassionate way to support the vulnerable women in our communities. Well done Bimini." Dr Tamsyn Anderson