South Tyneside youngsters do their bit on International Women’s Day

People from across South Tyneside have come together to mark International Women’s Day and call for an end to period poverty.

Coun Fay Cunningham, front, and Coun Moira Smith, right, with Hilary Morgan, Rio Porter and Victoria Kilminster.
Coun Fay Cunningham, front, and Coun Moira Smith, right, with Hilary Morgan, Rio Porter and Victoria Kilminster.

Members of the Young People’s Parliament joined forces with community voluntary groups and councillors to put the issue firmly in the spotlight at an event at the MarketPlace in South Shields.

As part of the event - the second stage of a scheme which sees free sanitary products made available to young people was launched.

Through the Red Box project, products are already available in secondary schools in the borough but now the council is looking to see how they can make the boxes available at other key locations across the borough for those in need.

The first of these boxes was presented at the event and will be kept at the MarketPlace - where young people regularly access services - in South Shields Marketplace.

Coun Moira Smith, lead member for children, young people and families said: “We know period poverty impacts on school attendance and can prevent young people from taking up social and other opportunities.

“It is a desperate situation and we are committed to doing everything we can to try and help.”

Shana McCauley, a member of the Young People’s Parliament said: “I really enjoyed the opportunity to meet with councillors and staff from different places to talk about such an important issue.

At the event young people and members of voluntary and community groups shared their insights into how to tackle the problem. They also discussed wider issues of women’s representation in the media and women, disability and work and held a timeline quiz reflecting on the advances in gender equality over the years.

Coun Fay Cunningham, lead member for the voluntary sector, co-operatives and partnerships, said: “We have an incredibly strong community spirit in South Tyneside and we can always rely on the generosity of local people to help those in hardship.

“By focusing on the barriers women and girls still face we can seek to create a more gender balanced world.”

Anyone wanting to make further donations to the Red Box project, is asked to email [email protected]