Meet the founder of ‘The Homeless Period Liverpool’

They’re a volunteer based organisation tackling the problems homeless women face while on their period

femsoc homeless homelessness liverpool period

A group of volunteers have recently founded ‘The Homeless Period Liverpool’, who describe themselves as “a volunteer led campaign providing vulnerable women across Liverpool with sanitary items.”

Help the Homeless Society and Feminist Society are planning to work with them and there will be a donation station in the Sydney Jones Library in the next academic year.

We interviewed one of the founding volunteers, Natalie Denny, about the initiative.

What are the aims of your new organisation ‘The Homeless Period Liverpool’?

The aims of The Homeless Period Liverpool is to provide sanitary items for homeless or vulnerable women across the city.”

Why is this important?

“It’s important as periods for many women can be not the greatest experience. The aches and pains, impact on mood, fatigue and being generally uncomfortable to name just a few, as well as the hygiene issue. Regular changing on sanitary pads or tampons requires forward planning.

“How many of us have had to think ahead when doing physical activity or camping and calculating toilet stops? Or realising that you have ran out of tampons? Or even been caught unawares by your period while you are out and had to either change your plans or feel uncomfortable until you can change your underwear?”

“Imagine being homeless and having to choose between buying food and buying sanitary items. For homeless women with very limited access to the expensive ‘luxury’ of sanitary items, it is a truly awful and humiliating time, and because of the taboo that surrounds the topic, it’s something that doesn’t often cross our mind.

“Some women are forced to use ripped up cloths, old socks or toilet roll from public toilets, or make a few tampons last the entire length of their period. This can lead to infections, so it doesn’t just have an emotional impact but is a danger to women’s physical health. This is why I have started The Homeless Period Liverpool Branch, to supply the women in Liverpool with the items they struggle to get access to.”

What are you hoping to achieve?

We are all volunteers and will be collecting donations of wipes, underwear and sanitary items and produce female care packages which are delivered to various projects and shelters across the city. The money and donations go towards creating our special period care packs, which each contain underwear, wipes, and a selection of sanitary products. These packs will be going out to other homeless charities and other projects in Liverpool to make a difference for as many women as possible who are in difficult circumstances, allowing their dignity and health to be maintained through their periods.

What does it mean for you/why is it important to you personally?

“I read an article on Vice that was linked to the Homeless Period Team. Reading these women’s stories of their struggles while being homeless and how their suffering intensified throughout their periods was something that really resonated with me but up until that point hadn’t crossed my mind. There are many amazing homeless organisations and street teams in Liverpool but nothing that specifically focuses on this issue. I read all I could and decided I could and would help.

“I contacted Keeley and Phoebe, the founder and National coordinator of The Homeless Period and they gave me really good pointers on how to get it started and I ran with it. The response has been amazing and we have a team of 17 volunteers which I am sure will only get bigger. I am a strong advocate for women’s issues and believe we should support each other especially those that are vulnerable. Ideally women should have access to sanitary items free of charge similar to how condoms are distributed and The Homeless Period Liverpool will be supporting the campaign that aims for this.”

Why did you choose Liverpool?

“I chose Liverpool for this project as it is my home. We are a thriving vibrant city full of beautiful buildings and people. We have always prided ourselves on how we support each other and that extends to every inhabitant. The Homeless Period Liverpool wants to address a need, bring people together and support homeless or vulnerable women to live their lives with dignity.”

How can others get involved?

“If you want to get involved you are more tham welcome. Our first donation station is now confirmed! Thanks to John at Liverpool Homeless Football Club. People can drop off or send sanitary items to the below address:

FAO The Homeless Period Liverpool
Liverpool Homeless Football Club,
151 Dale Street,
L2 2AH

“We also have a GoFundMe Page if you would rather donate that way. We also have a volunteer page on Facebook. If you search Homeless Period Liverpool Volunteer Team one of the team will approve you. Here we post all updates and news to do with the project and ways to support it. We will be announcing a few more donation stations once they are confirmed.”

Their twitter page can be found here, their facebook page here, and their instagram @homelessperiodliverpool. They are soon to be setting up an email for contact also.

Beth Meadows, a second year History student and president of the Help the Homeless Society said:

“The Homeless Period campaign is something the Help the Homeless Society wholeheartedly endorses as it is an issue we feel very strongly about. No woman should not have access to sanitary products when needed, it’s a basic human right in our view. We will be supporting the campaign all we can and are excited to see its success in helping bring about social justice for rough sleepers.”

Aoife Campbell, a psychology second year, Feminist Society’s Community and Volunteering Officer, and next year’s Vice President said:

Fem Soc are extremely pleased with the creation of such a wonderful campaign! Like Help the Homeless society we will be supporting the campaign as much as we can and are planning to have a donation box in the Sydney Jones library for the next academic year. As a liberation group, this issue is close to our hearts, and we want to be able to provide basic necessities to vulnerable people on their periods across Liverpool.”