A TUTOR from York has installed special boxes in schools around the city to help combat so-called ‘period poverty’.

Liz Pywell, from Heworth, has given boxes containing feminine hygiene products to 21 schools around the city, which can be used for free by students.

The project started after Liz read about a project which started in Portsmouth, and began taking donations of items and funding to buy sanitary products to place in the boxes earlier this year.

The scheme means young people who lack easy access to sanitary items are given as many as they need to see them through their period, not just one or two, and the stock is regularly replenished.

Liz said: “There are a shocking number of young people in this country who have to miss school every month because they can’t afford or access sanitary protection.

“It’s a very, very easy thing to organise and donate to and easy problem to solve, but it makes a big difference because no-one should be in a position to miss out on education because they are on their period.”

Each box contains £20 to £30 of sanitary items and underwear, and on Monday, Liz gave a box to Fulford School, and said the reaction the project has had so far has been very positive.

She said: “Schools have been overwhelmingly positive and I have had a lot of anecdotes about how useful it will be.

“In some schools, a box might last a year, might only be needed very sporadically, but in other schools it might be refilled much more frequently. We’re still at the very beginning.”

So far, Liz has raised more than £1,000 in online donations for the red box project, and hopes more people will get involved to ensure pupils are not forced to miss school once a month for reasons beyond their control.

Liz said she had spoken with MP Rachael Maskell about the need for such a project, and was surprised at the levels of poverty in some areas of the city.

She said: “York is such a lovely city and seems so affluent most of the time. I don’t think we would know, walking down Shambles on a Saturday afternoon, that poverty is here and we should do something about it. It’s so easy, I wish the Government would do something about it, but they won’t. So we will.”

To find out more about the project, go to the Red Box Project York page on Facebook, or to donate, go to justgiving.com/crowdfunding/red-box-project-york.