Free menstrual products are now available at Manchester’s libraries to ‘tackle period poverty’

What a genuinely brilliant initiative.

Emily Sergeant Emily Sergeant - 13th March 2024

Free menstrual products are now available at loads of public libraries across Manchester in a bid to “tackle period poverty”.

It’s all part of a campaign launched by Manchester City Council on International Women’s Day.

The ’Package For Val’ campaign was first trialled at Manchester Central Library last year, but after having been found to have helped “countless” women and girls who sadly endure period poverty across the city-region, it’s now expanded to 18 other libraries in Manchester – including those in Newton Heath, Gorton, and Withington.

The initiative sets out to actively-address the lack of access to menstrual products that many in Greater Manchester are unfortunately facing amid the cost of living crisis.

The package contains two sanitary towels in a “discrete” paper bag, and is supplied to anyone who asks for a ’Package for Val’ at the library counter.


Posters are now on display in public loos across the region to raise awareness of the scheme.

The wider rollout of the scheme comes after a representative survey of 1,000 young women and girls aged 14-21 by charity organisation Plan International found that one in seven have struggled to afford period products at some point in their lives, and even more shockingly, one in 10 cannot afford sanitary protection on a regular basis either.


Being funded on a pilot basis by the Council’s Department of Public Health, the rollout of the scheme follows in the footsteps of the much-needed efforts to provide products for free made by several major supermarkets, chemists, and other venues across the UK.

It’s part of a campaign launched by Manchester City Council on International Women’s Day / Credit: Wikimedia Commons

“Women and girls in our city are struggling to afford the basic need and dignity of accessing menstrual products,” commented Councillor Adele Douglas, who is the Deputy Executive Member for Skills, Employment and Leisure at Manchester City Council, as the campaign was launched on IWD last Friday.

“The ‘Package for Val’ campaign in libraries means we can now help women and girls experience what is natural part of life without shame or embarrassment.


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“Launching this on International Women’s Day gives us all a chance to not only remember the incredible strides of young women in Mancunian history, but also to begin breaking down stigma and creating open conversation about what period poverty really means for young women and girls.” 

Featured Image – Marco Verch (via Flickr)