A group of activists in London are taking an innovative approach to helping people in need access period products – by creating a unique partnership with local authority libraries.
Tricky Period, an offshoot of grassroots homeless outreach group Streets Kitchen, is putting free supplies in libraries where people low on funds can get what they need under a strict ‘no questions asked’ policy.
Anyone who needs to use the service can tick off the items they need on a form and hand it over to a librarian, who will go to to retrieve the necessary supplies just like if they were going to get a book.
“You don’t need to be homeless or be in a certain set of circumstances to use the service,” Tricky Period volunteer Caroline Allouf told The Big Issue. “But people will come in with all their ‘evidence’ like proof of their benefits. They can’t get their heads around us not being interested in any of that because they’re so used to having to prove themselves.”
Shout out2Avril& @HaringeyLabour Stroud Green 4 their #trickycollection????Hey other @HaringeyLabour wards wot a great idea????email: email@example.com – it's that simple! Free Period products4those experiencing homelessness/in need in ALL @haringeylibrary .NO QUESTIONS ASKED❤️ pic.twitter.com/PAh7cZvAne
— #TrickyPeriod (@TrickyPeriod) September 14, 2020
Tricky Period was launched shortly before lockdown when Streets Kitchen volunteers were hearing increasing stories of people forced to shoplift for period products, and being caught short when living on the streets. As well as providing products in libraries in Haringey, Camden and Islington, they give away supplies to rough sleepers and through other grassroots initiatives.