A COCKERMOUTH school and surgery have joined forces to help tackle period poverty

There are two red boxes in Cockermouth School and one at Castlegate and Derwent Surgery where people can leave sanitary products.

Girls in need can then help themselves.

The Red Box Project is a national initiative set up in a bid to support girls who cannot afford sanitary products. Many of them consequently miss out on their education each month.

Angie Messenger, head of personal development and religious studies at Cockermouth School, said: "It is an issue that affects a small number of students, however much of the time students seek sanitary products because they are still getting to know their cycle or perhaps because it hasn’t settled yet.

"Holiday time is often a point at which students will approach us for supplies.

"I met with Claire at the surgery and we discussed the project and how it would be beneficial to work together so students would have a point of contact when school is closed."

Receptionist Claire Macleod had heard about the national project and was keen for the surgery to play its part.

"We asked staff and patients for donations. There was a good response so we will pass this on to the school," she said.

"We are looking for donations from the public to help keep the box stocked up.

"We wanted to be part of this community initiative and are pleased to be able to support the school in the holidays.

"The area where girls can collect products is signposted in a discreet area downstairs where they can help themselves during surgery working hours.

"We're in the perfect location, being near the school."

Miss Messenger said: "Some students come to me before the holidays, saying that sanitary products are so expensive they cannot afford them out of their allowances. It's very important that we can support them,

"Also, it's good for the girls to get used to going into the surgery on their own and becoming familiar with it."

Mrs Macleod said she would be happy to talk to any primary schools which would like to be involved in the initiative.