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All girls in Rhondda Cynon Taf will have access to free sanitary products to tackle period poverty

Credit: ITV News

Plans to give free sanitary products to all Rhondda Cynon Taf schools with pupils aged nine and above have been given the go-ahead.

A six-month trial will start this summer and it will be fully rolled out by April 2019.

The council cabinet's decision comes after a campaign led by Plaid Cymru and Rhondda Cynon Taf councillor Elyn Stephens to eradicate period poverty.

The Welsh Government had previously announced more than a million pounds worth of funding for tackling period poverty.

10%
of girls in the UK find themselves unable to afford sanitary products.

Following Cabinet’s decision today and following Full Council’s support last month, Rhondda Cynon Taf will become the first Council in Wales to introduce not only an improved and free provision of sanitary products for female learners in its schools – but, equally importantly, a consistent approach across all schools.

– Councillor Joy Rosser, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet Member for Education and Lifelong Learning

Councillors say period poverty can have an impact on pupils' education, with some missing school as a result.

It also a problem for women on low incomes, who may have to prioritise other products such as food.

I am delighted the cabinet has approved the report on Sanitary Provision today. When I first brought the issue to the council chamber, I don’t think members fully appreciated the depth and severity of the issue. I want to pay tribute to the young girls who shared their stories and concerns to the working group. They have been invaluable, not only in creating a shift in attitude towards the taboo of discussing periods but by actively engaging in Local Government.

The purpose of the report has three elements, to eradicate period poverty, to educate all pupils and teachers on periods and most importantly to change the way we think about sanitary products. As a point of equality, we should be as comfortable talking about providing sanitary products as we do toilet paper.

I look forward with interest to see the positive changes take effect across Rhondda Cynon Taf and hope that all councils in Wales will follow suit.

– Cllr Elyn Stephens