Overbury plc, HQ Project, Bank Street for the initiative Combatting Period Poverty

Period poverty affects three in ten women in the UK who can’t afford to buy sanitary products. Lack of adequate menstrual products disrupts the lives of hundreds of thousands of women in the UK, restricting their ability to go to school or work, and even leaving them vulnerable to disease. It’s a harsh reality made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic and the current cost of living crisis, forcing women and girls to prioritise buying food and paying bills.

In a battle to end period poverty, office fit out and refurbishment company Overbury embarked on a campaign to make the workplace more inclusive for women whist shining a light on the important issue. In a male dominated sector this would be an ambitious goal, the taboo subject is rarely, if at all discussed onsite and the struggles of female co-workers have gone largely unnoticed.

The initiative was aimed at anyone working on or visiting the company’s 5 Bank Street fit out project in London and kicked off with the provision of free sanitary products and sanitary bins as standard in all female toilets.

To raise awareness and make people feel comfortable about taking about periods, a ‘Red Rebel Day’ raffle was launched where the currency to participate was a donation of ten sanitary pads, with prizes provided by subcontractors. With a large presence onsite and significant social media engagement the raffle created a huge impact and was visible to anyone who entered the building or engaged with the project. The campaign gained traction amongst the company’s directors who used the raffle as a constant topic of discussion helping further normalise the subject.

To raise vital aid for foodbanks and shelters supporting women who are homeless, on a low income or a refugee, a sanitary product donation point was set up onsite where all staff and subcontractors were encouraged to donate. The team set an ambitious target of collecting 55,350 pads which is enough product to help 615 women for six months.

Smashing this target, the initiative raised over 66,000 pads to date and has left a long-lasting impression on all staff and visitors at 5 Bank Street. By creating open and healthy discussion the project has helped break the long-standing taboo surrounding period poverty.

Overbury has since updated its policy to include free sanitary products at all sites including its offices, a small step in creating a more inclusive place to work.

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