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Social Justice

How The Big Issue is putting period poverty on the agenda

Our game-changing special ‘Period Issue’ created in collaboration with Hey Girls launched just as top politicians took huge strides towards ending period poverty

Our Big Issue-Hey Girls mini-magazine devoted entirely to talking about periods, poverty and defeating plastic pollution has generated a fantastic reaction so far.

Starting with a pop-up launch of the social enterprise’s ‘UNSanitary’ campaign at ASDA Bedminster – where Hey Girls CEO Celia Hodson tried her hand at selling our special period issue – this week has seen the conversation around period poverty really step up a gear across the UK.

This week also saw the momentous news that the Scottish Government plans to support MSP Monica Lennon’s Bill to ensure free (and stigma-free) access to sanitary products for all. She wrote a piece for The Big Issue explaining why this matters, and we will be updating on the Bill’s progress.

Monica Lennon: We must put right to free period products into law

A major print publisher devoting a whole special edition to menstrual health issues – as in the mini-magazine we’ve produced with Hey Girls – is a UK first. It features social enterprise champions and Hey Girls supporters Caitlin Moran and Michael Sheen celebrating the amazing work of schools, colleges and employers around the country in tackling period stigma, and looking at the environmental impacts of plastic period products. And – most importantly – it explains how all of us, men and women, boys and girls, can make a big difference taking small steps.

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The mini-magazine, which is on sale from Big Issue vendors across the UK this week, was made possible with support from sponsors including BDO accountants, Places for People and Firstport, organisations which have all been part of the Hey Girls story.

Sponsors of the supplement, BDO UK LLP, have worked with Hey Girls since their inception in 2018. “We have seen the team grow from strength to strength,” said partner Andrew McNamara. “We’re thrilled to see their success promoting an issue that’s had limited exposure, and our hope is that this campaign will drive more stakeholders from across the public and private sector to engage in causes for good.

“As accountants and business advisers, we pride ourselves on being champions of the entrepreneurially-spirited businesses that we call the UK’s Economic Engine.

“In equal measure, we’re proud to support social enterprises that channel that entrepreneurial mindset into ventures focused on making a positive impact on society and the environment.”

Andrew adds: “Our approach to social and environmental responsibility is deliberately open and recognises that we’re not all the same. There are things we need to do as a firm to maximise our positive impact on the world around us, but if we enable our people to make a difference at the same time then our impact will be far greater.”

Firstport, which supports social entrepreneurs in Scotland to get their ideas off the ground, is also sponsoring the Hey Girls publication. “Inspiring ideas just like Hey Girls – set up by individuals passionate about making a change – come through our doors every day and we like to think that with a bit of help from us, they can have a massive impact in the lives of people across Scotland.”

The Places Foundation is an independent charity supported by Places for People, who are co-sponsors of the Hey Girls’ Big Issue mini-magazine. The Places Foundation recently invested in Hey Girls through a loan facility with Big Issue Invest. 20 services run by Places for People have become donations partners with Hey Girls and now provide free sanitary products at domestic violence refuges, community centres, supported living services and homeless projects.

Find out more about Hey Girls online, look out for their range of fabulous buy-a-product-give-one-free products in supermarkets, buy them in The Big Issue Shop – and look out for our special ‘The Period Issue’ edition on sale from vendors across the UK until Sunday!

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Bigger Issues need bigger solutions

Big Issue Group is creating new solutions through enterprise to unlock opportunities for the 14.5 million people living in poverty to earn, learn and thrive. Big Issue Group brings together our media and investment initiatives as well as a diverse and pioneering range of new solutions, all of which aim to dismantle poverty by creating opportunity. Learn how you can change lives today.

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