Upon returning to her hometown in 2016, Rosy Candlin was met with shocking levels of poverty in a Manchester she felt had been let down by ‘dramatic’ cuts to services across the board. Period poverty was a symptom of this hardship, but one rarely talked about despite it affecting upwards of one in ten women.
In response, Rosy founded Every Month, a charity that works directly with local food banks to offer free menstrual products for those in need. They currently provide 800 people per month with the valuable supplies they need to keep living their lives – as studies have shown as many as 27% of women have had to miss work or school due to a lack of access to menstrual products.
After liaising with food banks and identifying where there were gaps in donations, Rosy felt a charity like Every Month was urgently necessary. “The only existing campaigns were for scrapping the luxury tax on menstrual products,” she told The Mancunion, “but this doesn’t do enough in the way of helping people who are experiencing poverty. It’s that it costs anything – people are counting pennies.”
Every Month initially included a sachet of hot chocolate in their packs, but after an audit of their organisation, some recipients were even too poverty stricken to make use of it. Rosy recounted one case where a family wouldn’t boil the kettle to keep bills down, leading to the inclusion of a chocolate bar instead.
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Our monthly packing party was this weekend! Our packs contain tampons, pads and chocolate 🍫📦 These packs get distributed to food banks in Manchester and other charities. ‼️We need your donations to be able to do this monthly and help those living in poverty‼️Thankyou to our lovely volunteers for packing and distributing the packs. You are all stars 🌟🌟 . . . #endperiodshame #endperiodpoverty #periodpower #periodpositive #freeperiod #menstruationmatters #mensturalequity #periodpoverty #tamponsarenotaluxury #periodtax #manchester #charity #volunteer #donate
Rosy acknowledges much more needs to be done to tackle the root causes of period poverty, and Every Month is doing all it can to aid that fight. The organisation is working with a government task force set up to help combat period poverty and she hopes this can result in meaningful legislative change, and something more than simply cutting the ‘tampon tax’.
However, as an organisation of all volunteers, time and money are both severely limited. A wide range of people, from bankers to students, offer their services each month, and most of their energy is directed at the logistics of providing menstrual products. The ability to more assertively push for political change would be ideal, but Rosy says she has to focus her attention on the more urgent problem at hand.
Rosy encouraged students to get involved as best they can, either by volunteering directly (information on this can be found on Everymonth’s website), donating or writing to their local MP to highlight the dangers of period poverty.
Anyone looking to contribute should turn their attention to Every Month’s upcoming festive fundraiser, an evening of Carols and music at YES. On December 11th, Every Month will be joined by the all-female She Choir Manchester, the University of Manchester Brass Band who will be hosting a Christmas sing-along, poet Steph Lonsdale and comedian Kiri Pritchard-McLean.
YES are supporting Every Month with a signature cocktail, money from every purchase of which will go directly to the charity. There will also be a range of menstruation-themed merch for sale, perfect for a cheeky stocking filler, and a raffle. For more details, check Every Month’s website, or their Facebook page.