Lidl Ireland is set to become the first major retailer in the world to offer free period products in stores nationwide to women and girls across the country affected by period poverty in partnership with Homeless Period Ireland and The Simon Communities of Ireland. The new initiative will see the retailer offer a dedicated coupon for a free box of sanitary pads or tampons per customer each month through their app Lidl Plus, and has also committed to quarterly donations of these products to The Simon Communities to ensure people experiencing homelessness – who may not have access to a smartphone – can access these essential products.
Lidl, who is well known for its strong sponsorship with the Ladies Gaelic Football Association and support of women in sport, is also working with the organisation to provide free period products in its LGFA clubs across the country with hopes to reach thousands more women and young girls who may not have access to these products on a regular basis. In addition, Lidl will continue to provide free access of these products to its workforce.
Period poverty is described as the lack of access to sanitary products, menstrual hygiene education, toilets, hand washing facilities, and, or, waste management, is a growing issue in Ireland particularly since the onset of the pandemic. A Plan International study on young females in Ireland found that almost 50 per cent of girls aged between 12 and 19 found it difficult to pay for sanitary products. Lidl’s new initiative comes in advance of anticipated Irish legislation and implementation of supporting measures. In November, Scotland became the first country in the world to commit to offering free period products to those who need them, with New Zealand quickly following suit following successful trials in schools last year.
“I’m delighted that Lidl Ireland have partnered with Homeless Period Ireland in order to take meaningful action against period poverty in Ireland. This initiative will ensure that those most in need will have the ability to access suitable period products,” said Claire Hunt, Founder of Homeless Period Ireland, and who has been a core voice in raising awareness and distributing donations to those in need of period products for many years.
“In a first world country like ours no one should have to choose between feeding themselves and their family or buying period products. In collaboration with Homeless Period Ireland, Lidl Ireland are taking the lead in restoring dignity to people across the entire country. It is my hope that in due course much anticipated legislation and measures will be implemented and ultimately Homeless Period Ireland and indeed initiatives like this one should no longer have to exist.”
Aoife Clarke, Head of Communications for Lidl Ireland, said: “At Lidl, it has long been our priority to support the communities we operate in across the country, and that has been even more prevalent since the onset of the pandemic. Since learning more about the growing issue of period poverty in Ireland, we’ve passionately felt that as a family retailer it’s in our communities’ best interest to support young girls and women who are affected by this issue.
“As a long-time supporter of women in sport, our female workforce, and now women and girls across the country affected by this issue, we are pleased to partner with Homeless Period Ireland to make this unprecedented commitment to provide free period products for those who need them whilst Government legislation is being worked on. The guiding principle of this initiative is the inherent respect for the dignity of all those concerned, and it is our hope that it will have an impact those who would otherwise have to use less suitable materials or none at all.”
Carla Rowe, Ladies Gaelic Football player and Lidl LGFA Brand Ambassador said: “There has long been a stigma around menstruation in the public sphere, particularly when competing in sport and I’m delighted to see Lidl tackle this topic head on, raising awareness and supporting women and girls affected by this issue across the country.”
Jennifer Kitson, National Partnerships Manager for Simon Communities commented: “We are delighted that Lidl have chosen Simon Communities to support through this initiative with Homeless Period Ireland and the LGFA. Access to sanitary products can be challenging for people experiencing homelessness and Lidl’s donations to our services will improve our supply of these essential items and mean greater access to sanitary products for our clients who need them, when they need them.”
Starting 19th April, those looking to get urgent access to period products can download Lidl’s app, Lidl Plus, and sign up to receive a free monthly coupon which they will receive on 3rd May and then ongoing on monthly basis.
BITCI were delighted to be part of this initiative by researching the ubiquity of Period Poverty in Ireland and the social inequality suffered by those who experience it.
Great update as of 04/05 “Over 20,000 register to access free period products from Lidl”
For more information visit: lidl.ie/period-poverty
Footnote 1: https://www.plan.ie/we-need-to-talk-period/