An online campaign to raise awareness for period poverty in Brighton, has today been viewed over 1 million times and gained a national following.
A group of teenagers from the bustling coastal city have come together to speak out about how the issue of not having suitable period protection items affects their local community, and today are calling for support from the rest of the country and household brands.
In Summer 2021 the seven friends signed up to NCS (National Citizen Service), – a programme where young people learn new skills needed to become world and work-ready and raise their voice to make a positive difference and impact in their community – where this worthy initiative was born. The team are continuing their hard work beyond the programme and pledge to play their part in keeping the important conversation alive way beyond their hometown.
As part of their social action project during their NCS experience, the girls created a dedicated TikTok account – @BrightonPeriodProject – that would be used as a platform to not only spread important information and raise awareness on the issue, but also create a safe and inclusive space for people to discuss and de-stigmatise ideas around periods. It also worked as a channel to collect and re-distribute period products to those in need.
By using popular music, a clip from a TV show, or a funny noise which has been used many times by other creators on TikTok and has gone viral, and relating that to their chosen content, the platform has today reached mass audiences and has quickly racked up impressive views.
With 5,000 followers the creative content has today collectively reached the milestone of over a million views, with one video that highlights the woes of having your period, racking up nearly 900,000 views on its own – three times more than the population of Brighton, which currently stands at 290,000.
Through their clever partnership with local homeless charity, Antifreeze, to setting up a Go Fund Me page, and drop off points within the local area, the project has raised thousands of pounds to buy period products and has re-distributed periods products to 1 in 10 of the total population of women in Brighton.
As a female group, the team knew they wanted to do something that would help young girls like them in their community and beyond, but little did they know it would be such a success and are now looking at ways they can transfer their winning formula to help different communities across the UK.
Furthermore, the business minded group have written to charity Period Poverty UK, high street retailers Morrisons and Superdrug and consumer goods giant, Procter and Gamble – the home of well-known sanitary brands Tampax and Always to discuss their campaign and to ask for help in developing an idea they had similar to the Government’s c-card scheme is (aimed at young people between 13-24 years old who can register to get a range of free condoms, information and advice). The girls are pushing for a P card version that would allow access to free period products to people who need them and are eagerly awaiting a response.
“We wanted to focus our efforts on period poverty where we live, and destigmatising periods is also important to us and we all hated that it is still such a taboo subject, this is all new to a lot of us and it’s great to think that we might be making even a small difference not only in Brighton but across the country though TikTok. There have been great conversations and debates in the comment sections, which helps us learn and shows that people are opening their minds to the situation.”
Brighton Period Project’s Sylvie Williams (age 16)
When asked about their thoughts on the worldwide problem the teenagers are firm believers that the stigma attached to periods is to blame.
“We thank NCS for giving us the tools and the confidence to continue to push the narrative way beyond the programme. We really hope we can roll it out to other parts of the country because we know there is a need for it. Hopefully, us reaching out to the big players in this field will come to something and help spread that change.”
Brighton Period Project’s Isobel Hallworth (aged 16)
This is such an important, life-altering initiative” said Miriam Jordan Keane, Chief Brand Officer at NCS. “That young women in 2022 are suffering from period poverty in our country is heart-breaking, and I am so proud of the 7 teenagers in Brighton who are putting this on the radar of big brand consumer companies and retailers. This is real girl power in action, making a genuine difference to women’s lives and life chances. Go, girls!”
Mark Gifford, CEO of NCS, said: “Our focus for NCS has always been to provide tools that will help our youth build confidence and resilience and equip them with the life skills they need to become world-ready and work-ready.
“It’s heart-warming to see a group of 16-year-olds come together and be so passionate about something and wanting to make a change in their community and beyond. They have clearly worked together so well as a team and I’m excited to see where it takes them.”
“This year we have moved towards offering year-round access to NCS so young people can engage in the way that best suits their individual needs and circumstances.
“We remain committed to backing the country’s youth, continuing to help future generations of national citizens give back to their communities, and build the future that they will inherit and inhabit as ‘our next greatest generation’,” concluded Gifford.
Up until January 2021, the UK Government considered sanitary products a ‘luxury item’ and taxed them as such. After national outcry and a spotlight on this sexist and out of touch ‘pink tax’, 2021 became the year that sanitary products were no longer declared nonessential items. Unfortunately, this did not prevent thousands of girls in the UK from struggling to afford sanitary products.
Nearly two million girls aged 14-21 in the UK have missed a part day or full day of school because of their period, according to a survey by global children’s charity Plan International UK.
Videos and further information about the cause can be found on TikTok, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter by searching @BrightonPeriodProject
Spaces on NCS’ Summer ‘22 programme are now open. Available to all 16- and 17-year-olds during the summer holidays, the two-week experience will never cost more than £50, with financial support available too. Find out more at wearencs.com
The programme is all about emboldening young people – by giving them a taste of independence and equipping them with essential skills for life. Participants then get a chance to take these new-found skills for a test-run in their local community.
Since 2009 more than 600,000 young people have taken part in NCS, completing over 15 million hours of community action, and gaining priceless life experiences.
NCS offers bursaries and support for those with special educational needs or disabilities in line with its commitment to the life-changing experience available to every young person.
NCS delivers value for money. £3.49 of benefits to society for every £1 spent. During lockdown NCS has had over 1.7 million unique engagements with teens through its ‘Staying Connected’ hub.