A new community project is aiming to tackle ‘period poverty’ in Halstead and the surrounding areas.

Guide leader Fern Condon has established the Halstead and the Surrounding Areas Red Box Project to help ensure girls have access to free sanitary products within schools.

Although in the early stages of the scheme, Miss Condon has already received significant support from the community and has two businesses signed up as donation points in the town.

She said: “I am a Guide leader for Earls Colne Guides and the Rangers, which is girls between nine and 14 and then 14 and 18.

“We took them on trip to a Guide camp called Wellies and Wristbands.

“There was a donation point there for schools in that area so I got the girls to bring in items as donations.

“Then I did a bit of research seeing if we could be a donation point for our area. They asked me if I wanted to be a coordinator.”

In just eight days, residents of Halstead have donated £165, which has allowed Miss Condon to buy the materials needed to get the scheme off the ground.

And if the schools agree, the first red boxes will soon be available at Ramsey Academy and Earls Colne Primary School.

Miss Condon, 20, said: “Hopefully as it takes off we can expand it to other schools in Halstead. We are starting off small and building.

“We have three donations points at the moment in the Colchester Road Co-op in Halstead, Baldwins uniform store and at Earls Colne Scout and Guide Hut.”

The latest statistics show one in ten girls miss school each month due to the effects of period poverty.

Though Miss Condon believes the Government should be doing more to tackle the issue nationally, she says the Red Box Project scheme is a good way for communities themselves to make a difference.

She said: “We want people to start talking about the issue and help increase awareness.

“It is a big problem across the country and Halstead is no different.

“There are children who will be going through period poverty for various reasons.

“The world around us is changing, but this problem is not going away.”

Anyone interested in helping the Halstead and the Surrounding Areas Red Box Project can visit the Facebook page.

For more information about the Red Box Project, visit redboxproject.org.