Kirstin Marshall, BA (Hons) International Marketing

I first got involved with the Simon Community Scotland through a marketing internship for my programme and was taken on to run its social media strategy. This summer I was able to to launch its new project to help combat period poverty alongside MSP Monica Lennon.

The Simon Community supports homeless people and Period Friendly Points are safe, clean locations across the city that homeless women can easily access. They’ll find towels, tampons, wipes, pants and information leaflets in the Points at Shelter, Streetwork and Simon Community, and we are hoping to expand to cafes across Glasgow. We also offer women someone to talk to.

Initially I ran a survey asking women about their experiences, for example if they had ever had to go without sanitary products. It revealed that the vast majority had and had resorted to alternatives like paper towels, socks and even newspapers. In addition, we discovered that more than 70 per cent of the women we surveyed didn’t know exactly how a period works and no-one had taken the time to tell them.

It was pretty shocking, so I came up with ‘Period Friendly Points’ and the project was awarded £7000 Big Lottery funding to launch it. We are now looking for ‘Period Friendly Pals’ – volunteers to refill the points. I have already had so much support from the Simon Community’s staff and volunteers. One of our volunteers even asked colleagues attending one of her business meetings to bring pants and she ended up with 100 pairs – even handmade pants! It’s fantastic.

I got involved with the Simon Community at first as I wanted to get some work experience in marketing before going into my fourth year.  I have learned so much about how businesses and charities work and have been able to work directly with senior staff.  However, it has been a huge life lesson and eye opener in so many ways. We can all be selfish and anxious around homeless people but they are just people who have been unlucky.