National Citizen Service Regional Youth Board inspired by International Women’s Day to tackle period poverty

In late February, five NCS Graduates and NCS leaders from Greater Manchester attended their second NCS (National Citizen Service) Regional Youth Board hosted by the Growth Company at Lee House. With International Women’s Day fast approaching, this meeting was focused on discussing period poverty in the UK. This was the Youth Boards’ final planning meeting ahead of the National NCS Action Day on Saturday April 4, where they’ll be delivering a social action project based on the topic.

Places are still available for the NCS programme this summer, when young people aged 15-17 across the North West will be supporting causes of their choosing through further social action projects.

Kicking off the session, co-founder of Manchester charity Elle for Elle, Rachel O’Hare, met the group to provide insights into their mission to help women in refuges rebuild their dignity and self-esteem. She described their campaign ‘Dignity after Distress’, which aims to keep refuges stocked up with personal hygiene and beauty products, allowing vulnerable women and children to access decent products and maintain their dignity and privacy.

To date, Elle for Elle have collected and donated over 20,000 products to women in refuges across the North West. With a passion to create more permanent solutions, Rachel talked of their drive to ‘empower women’ through their programme which sees girls undertake beauty training as part of the Be.You.ty campaign.

Zarah Ross of Youth Focus NW delivered a session on period poverty, identifying the realities and scale of this issue across the UK. With a focus on providing and supporting youth voice, Youth Focus NW will be leading future NCS Regional Youth Boards across the North West from September, in partnership with the Growth Company.

Inspired by the sessions delivered by Elle for Elle and Youth Focus NW, the group spent the afternoon creating a campaign called ‘Buy One Get One For Me’ for their NCS Action Day. They are designing a sticker and shelf-edge label urging shoppers to purchase a second pack of period products to be collected and donated directly to Elle for Elle. They will reach out to select local supermarkets to display these labels, with the aim of collecting vital products for refuges in the area, and to raise awareness on the issue of period poverty.

The Regional Youth Board group said: “It’s a subject that feels quite hidden and it needs to be talked about. If we can use our position [on the NCS Youth Board] to help people experiencing period poverty, we should.”

Rachel O’Hare, co-founder of Elle for Elle, said: “Elle for Elle are delighted to be working in partnership with the Greater Manchester Regional Youth Board on their NCS Action Day project. Their enthusiasm and ideas are inspirational, and will help to highlight the urgent need for personal hygiene products and toiletries for women and children affected by domestic abuse.”

To sign up for NCS, and benefit from the graduate opportunities available, please visit https://wearencs.com/.

For more information on how you can get involved with our NCS graduates and youth boards, email NCS Graduate Programme and Extension Manager, Adele Angove Adele.Angove@growthco.uk.