Students celebrated the introduction of sanitary products from free vending machines throughout Leeds University Union toilets on Tuesday 29th January.
Students can now collect tampons and sanitary pads from hygienic vending machines in the female and gender-neutral toilets around the union, completely free of charge.
Previously, free sanitary products were available from baskets in the toilets. However, these provisions were often found to be abused; thrown in bins outside the Union particularly after nights out, such as Fruity. The Union will now provide these products, including Lil-Lets tampons and Always sanitary pads, in free vending machine style distributors.
They will be restocked throughout the day to ensure they are always available to those in need.
This comes as a welcome addition to welfare support offered by the Union, considering that only a few years ago, students had to pay for sanitary products from vending machines of a similar style.
Matt Port, Welfare Officer at LUU, was thrilled with the development.
“I’m so proud that free-vend machines for sanitary products have been installed! It should hopefully provide a more reliable and consistent mode of delivering in-the-moment support for students who menstruate.
“This is one of the main things I have campaigned for since starting my position at the Union, and I’m thrilled that so many people could work together to make it happen.”
The machines are currently in eight of the toilets around the Union, including the gender neutral and female toilets in the main foyer.
They can also be found in all other student-facing female toilets, with plans to put a machine in the male toilets in the foyer soon.
There are hopes that the planned success of this initiative will cause it to be extended to all university managed toilets.
The Union have also made free contraceptive products available to students and staff. Condoms and lubricant are obtainable from outside the exec office, with dental dams to be added soon.
Back in September 2018, Leeds City Council announced measures to tackle period poverty in schools head on, making it the first city council in England to commit to such a pledge.