VIDEO: ‘Tampons are not a luxury item’

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A group of students have launched a petition calling for free sanitary products in gender neutral toilets at the university and in public bathrooms in Lancaster.

Molly Blackwell, Zoe Taylor, Ida Mau, Kyle Austin and Kelly Thurston, all studying at Lancaster University, have set up their own group called Tampon Talk Lancaster, campaigning to get free emergency sanitary products in public toilets across campus and town. The petition forms part of their campaign.

Photo Neil Cross
Molly Blackwell of the Tampon talk group of students with Zoe Taylor, Ida Mau, Kyle Austin and Kelly Thurston, from Lancaster University have set up a petition calling for free sanitary products in gender neutral bathrooms at the Uni and in public bathrooms in Lancaster

Photo Neil Cross Molly Blackwell of the Tampon talk group of students with Zoe Taylor, Ida Mau, Kyle Austin and Kelly Thurston, from Lancaster University have set up a petition calling for free sanitary products in gender neutral bathrooms at the Uni and in public bathrooms in Lancaster

Molly Blackwell, 20, who set up the group as part of her Social Media and Activism course, said: “This is something that we want to change in our community. Sanitary products are regarded as a luxury item and we pay extortionate prices for good sanitary products. Free sanitary products in public bathrooms would reduce the pressure on homeless women who are forced to decide between buying sanitary products or buying food.

“We are focusing on getting them in gender neutral bathrooms on campus as this is inclusive to all. In regards to the city council, it would be dependent on how much money they would put into it.

“Ideally a handful of women’s disabled bathrooms and mens bathrooms.One particular comment on our page shocked me, it said that sanitary products are not as essential as food. We can’t change the world but we want to doa little bit.”

The petition has so far gained 160 signatures out of 200. Molly and her friends held a Tampon Donation day on February 28 in Alexandra Square where they had a stall for people to donate sanitary products to be distributed to homeless women in Lancaster and used in bathrooms on campus.

Lancaster University Students’ Union Vice-President Dave Whitlock said: “As a union we understand that students are often stretched financially. For the last year we have been by making free sanitary products available to collect from our reception desk. We’re happy to support this student-led campaign.”

To sign the petition visit https://www.change.org/p/lancaster-city-council-free-sanitary-products-in-public-bathrooms-in-lancaster-uk.

Visit Tampon Talk Lancaster on Facebook.

A spokesman for Lancaster City Council said: “The council welcomes petitions as we recognise that petitions are one way in which people can let us know their concerns.

“Generally, a petition must be signed by at least 10 people, and any persons who sign should live, work or study in the council’s area.

“If the petition has received 1,500 signatures or more (or 200 where it relates to a local matter which affects no more than two wards), it will be scheduled for a council debate.

“ More information about petitions is available on our website at www.lancaster.gov.uk/the-council-and-democracy/petitions.”