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Period poverty mum forced to use homemade sanitary products to keep children fed

Alex Chetwynd has started her own charity, Period Progress, after being spurred into action by her own experience not being able to afford tampons or sanitary towels

Alex Chetwynd has drawn on her own experiences to launch a new charity

A young mum went without sanitary products so her children could eat properly.

When money was particularly tight Alex Chetwynd would use wads of toilet paper and scraps of cloth because she was unable to afford pads and tampons.

As a stay-at-home mum of three small daughters, she made their food her priority when times were tough as her husband studied at university, Stoke Sentinel reported.

“There have been a number of occasions where I have had to sacrifice products as I am unable to work due to lack of childcare, so we rely solely on my husband’s maintenance loans from the university to survive from month to month,” Alex said.

Alex was sometimes unable to afford period products


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“Obviously this can leave finances very tight and when this happens I always have to sacrifice products for other necessities like food and anything our children may need for nursery and school.

“As a mother, their needs will always come before my own so I would use things like toilet roll and old pieces of clothing cut up instead.”

At times, Alex didn’t feel as though she could ask for help from those closest to her.

She said: “If I was fortunate enough, my mum would buy me the products and have them sent to me but this wasn’t often as the majority of the time I was too embarrassed to admit that I couldn’t afford the products.”

Knowing that other women shared similar experiences, Alex knew she wanted to do something about it and be there to help when women don’t feel confident enough to ask those around them.

Now the mum campaigns against period poverty


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Period poverty in the UK affects one in ten women between the ages of 14 and 21.

Now she has started her own charity, Period Progress, after being spurred into action by her own experience.

She hopes to access young girls and women in need through schools, colleges, universities as well as providing a service where people can come forward to seek help and advice.

While the charity is in its early days, she has been busy finding volunteers, speaking to woman in her local community and, using an Amazon wishlist, beginning her collection of sanitary products to be able to distribute as needed.

She has been overwhelmed by the response on her social media pages and hopes the support will help her reach those in need.

“The amount of women who have come forward already and said that it’s affected them at some point in their life and that they would love to get involved is huge,” she said.

“I want to help put an end to period poverty because it shouldn’t be happening in 2021 and the fact that it’s still a taboo subject I think is really wrong. In the past few years society has become really good at discussing mental health and that’s amazing.

“But something as natural as having a period is still really frowned upon to discuss and it’s just about raising awareness and breaking down that stigma.”

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