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202205 periods pads and prosecco page 1 450pxIt's almost exactly two years since PGC introduced readers to PG resident Anne Nicholls and her work, during this first phase of lockdown No 1, to help fill the gaps on supermarket shelves where sanitary pads should have been. To do this she assembled a team of women from around Enfield to produce green alternatives to commercially available single-use products - handmade reusable pads made from natural materials that are not just better for the body and better for the environment but also save money. The pads are packed in colourful cotton "dignity bags".

202205 periods pads and prosecco page 2Now Anne is inviting readers to find out more about this project (and even try your hand at making pads), about her work in Kenya on similar projects and about how the cost of living crisis in London has brought to the fore issues around period poverty. All washed down with Prosecco (or another tipple if you prefer).

202205 periods pads and prosecco page 3An Evening of Periods, Pads and Prosecco will take place on Friday 20th May at 6.30pm in St Peter's Church Hall in Grange Park. Food and drinks will be on sale, provided by Cooking Champions, who are regular visitors to the hall, where they hold their weekly Community Cafe, and the proceeds will go towards Anne's projects in Kenya.

Anne grew up in Kenya before moving to England and becoming a teacher. She later began volunteer work in Kenyan schools with the Amara Charitable Trust, and it was then that she became aware of the serious problems for girls who could not afford to buy commercial period products and were missing school as a result. A Kenyan charity, PadMad Kenya, introduced her to the idea of making reusable pads.

She'd just got back from Kenya when the first 2020 lockdown began:

"A friend I knew at Enfield Council asked if I had any pads because the shelves in supermarkets had been stripped of baked beans, toilet rolls, baby products and sanitary pads and tampons.

"I agreed to get some volunteers together to sew some reusable pads for the food bank, who the council were supporting. We made over 700 using volunteers from all over Enfield and then made many more for the Cube in Ponder's End and St John's in PG. For the last two years we have been donating toiletries to Cooking Champions.

"Dignity bags and toiletries are given to all Cooking Champions recipients at Christmas and to other food banks/organisations when we have enough to distribute."

The pads are still being made locally, but the team of volunteers has dwindled. People can get in touch if they would like to sew, cut materials or donate knickers, fabrics or money - Annes's email address is .

Anne with schoolgirls in KenyaAnne Nicholls with schoolgirls in Kenya (Photo: @athina.kontos)

Cooking Champions will by now be well known to PGC readers. Set up by another PG resident, Clare Donovan, since the beginning of the pandemic its volunteers have cooked tens of thousands of meals for the Little Things homeless outreach programme and for local people in severe food poverty.

this girl can period leaflet 1

Click on the image to download the ThisGirlCan.Period leaflet

Anne is one of the Cooking Champion volunteers herself, working as a driver delivering food to hungry families.

"As a volunteer driver, I see first hand the needs of the people receiving the food parcels and how grateful they are, usually to tide them over until they get back on their feet.

"While doing these deliveries I realised that here in the UK the same thing is happening as in Kenya. People who can't afford food can't afford period products either, and this means they are either trapped at home when menstruating or are using makeshift alternatives.

"Hence the dignity bags with reusable pads for those in poverty in this country."

Donate to Anne's crowdfunder for the Kenyan project

managing periods with dignity crowdfunder

www.crowdfunder.co.uk/p/restoring-dignity-in-period-poverty

Links

This Girl Can.Period

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