Scottish Government launches app to find free period products

PickupMyPeriod program allows users to find one of 700 locations where free products can be collected

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The Scottish Government has unveiled an app that allows citizens to find local locations offering free period products.

The PickupMyPeriod app, which is available on Android and Apple, is asking local authorities to provide details of locations in their area – such as schools, colleges, universities, libraries and community facilities – where free products can be collected. The government claimed that the majority of councils have already done so, and 700 locations are currently featured on the program.

The app uses a device’s GPS location to direct users to their nearest location offering free products; if GPS is not enabled, users can simply enter their postcode. The software also allows users to filter locations by which products are available provides details of what is offered at each site. 

The app was developed by My Period, the education-focused unit of Hey Girls, a social enterprise which produces environmentally friendly period products and works to eradicate period poverty – meaning those who are deprived of adequate sanitary products because of a lack of money.

The Scottish Government contributed funding to support the development of the app. The backing came following laws that came into effect in late 2020 requiring the provision of free period products in public buildings – to anyone requesting them. The law, which covers education and local authority locations, was the first of its kind in the world, and is due to “come fully into force by January 2023 at the latest”.

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Until then, many councils already provide free access to tampon and pads on a voluntary basis; North Ayrshire council is understood to the first local authority in the UK to have done so, beginning free provision at more than 100 public buildings in summer 2018.

The PickupMyPeriod app was launched by Scotland’s social justice secretary Shona Robison at a virtual event last week.

“The app is a fantastic tool that will help everyone who wants to access free period products for themselves, a family member or friend to easily find them in many places across Scotland,” she said. “I’m thankful for the support of local authorities in the implementation of access to free period products in Scotland. Young women and girls have been crucial in developing the best ways to access products to meet their needs and I’m grateful to them for sharing their views.”

In addition to providing details on the location of period products, the app includes a complementary section offering “menstrual health education in the form of flashcards”.

Celia Hodson, founder of Hey Girls, said:  “This is a ground-breaking project for Scotland. For the first time, people across the country will be able to use an app to find and access free period products that they can walk or drive to easily. As a Scottish-based social enterprise whose core goal is to help eradicate period poverty, it was great to have our app idea adopted, part-funded and supported by the Scottish Government. PickupMyPeriod will act as a fantastic tool to raise awareness of period poverty and equality, as well as providing support to people who need a little extra support across Scotland.”


Sam Trendall

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