As we head out of 2018 and into 2019, many of us hope that it will be a better year for us. We reflect on the things that have happened over the years.

Period Poverty is PantsWe recently celebrated 100 years since the end of WW1, the NHS had its 70th Birthday, and we have come far in medicine and technology. We put a man on the moon, landed a spacecraft on Mars. Life is evolving fast and yet we have reverted back to the dark ages through this government. Period Poverty!

Imagine a young girl going to school, there’s so much pressure on her to do well in studies if she wants to get the job she’s dreamed of. Fitting in socially is a mine field for any young person and making sure that they have the right hair style, makeup, clothes etc so that peers don’t make them feel embarrassed about their appearance, let’s face it, “kids” are cruel!

Imagine that the young girl has sisters, her family are on a low income, she has started her period and cannot afford to buy sanitary products, she’s maybe scared to approach her parents fearing that the extra cost will put a strain on their already stretched budget. What does she do? Well for many she will roll up a sock and use it as a makeshift pad, some use wadded up toilet roll, others use cut up t-shirts, anything to try and stop them from leaking through in class! Many young girls miss up to five days school because of it, this in turn effects their education, they miss vital lessons that they need to do well in exams, it also puts more pressure on them.

Now imagine that this is your Daughter/Granddaughter/Niece. Would you want to help? Would you want others to help if they could? I imagine that the answer to this is a very resounding YES!

Our current Government makes things very difficult for us all, and there are so many issues that need addressed and hopefully will be addressed in the very near future, but for now, I would welcome an explanation as to why certain products that the majority of us would class as a luxury item would be Tax Exempt or Zero Taxable such as:


  • A Helicopter, either bought or chartered 0% VAT
  • Exotic Meats (Kangaroo, Emu, Alligator) 0% VAT
  • Gaming, Lotto, and Gambling TAX EXEMPT


  • Incontinence Products 0% VAT and rightly so
  • Maternity Products 5% VAT
  • Sanitary Products 5% VAT

Why is it that a basic human necessity is being taxed and over priced?
Because our current government knows we NEED the items, SUPPLY & DEMAND.
Well to help alleviate part of our ever growing problem for young girls, a group has been set up called The Red Box Project. Here in Consett, a group of us got together to coordinate in our area and also surrounding areas.

The Red Box Project Derwentside was started in September 2018 after one of our coordinators Sarah Jones read a verse about a girl sitting in school fearing about “showing through”. Sarah was so incensed and was taken back to her school days of having that fear that she wanted to help young girls in our area so she joined the RBP and posted it on Facebook.. straight away more of us saw the post and jumped on board. We now have 4 fully active members and 2 that help when they can.

The aim of RBP is to have a Red Box in every school in the area for young girls to access when they need it, from a “one off” caught short moment to needing a full pack for their entire period. We also have pants, tights and wipes in the boxes. The products are donated to us via community drop off points and we collect them and make up the school boxes.
So far in the short space of time, we have 16 collection/drop off points in the area and we have stocked boxes in 6 Schools.

Please help us to ensure that no young girl misses out on school because she has her period.

There are several ways you can help out;-
By donating products at one of the following drop points:
The Demi Sports Bar – Consett St. Patrick’s Church Hall – Consett
Station Rd Pharmacy – Consett Knutz Hair Studio – Shotley Bridge
Ego Hair & Beauty – Consett Emerald Waxing – Consett
Community Spirit within Hotel 52 – Stanley Community Centre – Lanchester
Methodist Church – Lanchester Keepers Café – Dipton
Millou Nails & Beauty – Consett The Sarnie Salon – Consett
In style Hairdressers – Annfield Plain The Croft Community School – Annfield Plain
St. Pius Xth School – The Grove Tiny Toes, Bumps & Babies – Consett

You can also donate money on our Go Fund Me Page:
Donate money at
Arrange to drop off products or cash to our coordinators (a receipt will be given for any cash donations).

Look at our Facebook page The Red Box Project Derwentside for more info on our coordinators Sarah Jones, Joanna Hopper, Jean Huntley and Ryen Huntley, and how you can become involved.

We are holding a fundraiser day on Sunday 17th February 2019 at The Demi Sports Bar in Consett, 2pm-10pm, there will be a Raffle, Tombola, Cake Stalls, Fancy Dress competition, Face Painting, Crafting Stalls, a Retro Disco from 6:30pm. Ticket prices will be announced on our facebook page nearer the time.

Anyone who would like to have a stall there please contact us on

Lets help our young girls out…. We’ve got their backs, Can you have ours?

“Period Poverty is Very Real” is an opinion/charitable piece submitted to Consett Magazine By Joanna Hopper

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Chris Brown
Christopher Brown is Consett Magazine's lead journalist. Chris enjoys meeting with a whole host of different people to report on what's happening in Consett, Co.Durham.


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