What is the GAPP Initiative?



In the UK, over the past few years there has been a growing awareness that 'Period Poverty' is an alarming reality for many women. Not only do the homeless and refugees struggle with this issue, but so can young mums and school girls from low income households. Access to safe sanitary products should be a basic human right. Increasingly, howeer, since the economic crisis and austerity measures more and more women are finding this 'human right' not being being met and may be in need of additional support. 

The GAPP Initiative (Giving Against Period Poverty) is a fairly new initiative which all started as a spired and homegrown project at ST THomas and St Lawrence Churches in Ellesmere Port. Although we had no major goals initially we simply just wanted to help tackle Period Poverty and to build awareness of the reality of Period Poverty in our local community; particularly for young women and school girls. Then to achieve this by gaining support through regular donations enabling us to provide free sanitary products for those who really need this sort of help in our community. 

Since starting in early 2018 the GAPP Initiative has seen many blessings and developments in both donations and distribution as interest and awareness continues to grow; together with the growing number of Donation Collection/Distribution Point Centres (for sanitary products) in locations across Ellesmere Port. We have been particularly blessed by Morrisons Supermarket in Ellesmere Port, who are allowing us to use one of their trolleys for customer donations. All the donations we receive are really helping to make a huge impact on the number of women and girls the GAPP Initiative can support in our local community.

Although our primary aim was (and still is) to support young mums and high school girls who may be struggling with Period Poverty. We initially started with supplying donated sanitary products for distribution through The Community Hub (EPNAVCO) whose aim was to support a variety of needs including the Women's Refuge, the homeless and refugees. Sadly The Community Hub has now closed, however we will endeavour to provide support where we can to help bridge this gap in the coming year. 

We have had some success with providing sanitary products through High Schools to support girls whose families may be in need of additional support; in which we hope we will also reduce the potential impact Period Poverty can have on their education. So far we are distributing sanitary products to two High Schools. 

In addition we are also providing sanitary products through Cheshire College at the Ellesmere Port Campus to help students who may need this kind of support. We are also supporting young mums through a variety of avenues including through Children's Centres at Portside and Stanlaw Abbey and through the 121 Midwives Centre in Ellesmere Port.

It is our aim to support more women and girls across our community, so we are distributing sanitary products through a number of other centres, including: the Citizen's Advice Bureau; the Library; ForHousing; Forum Housing. We also hope to expand this provision over the coming year which will enable us to make a provision for those who really need this kind of help.

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