Lidl offers free period products via app

Lidl Northern Ireland is set to become the first supermarket retailer in the province to provide free period products to customers in need as part of a major new initiative aimed at tackling period poverty.

Pictured launching the initiative are Katrina McDonnell, Founder of Homeless Period Belfast, Conor Boyle, Regional Director of Lidl Northern Ireland and Brian Shanks from the Simon Community Northern Ireland

The new initiative, which is being backed by Homeless Period Belfast, will see the retailer offer a dedicated coupon for a free box of sanitary pads or tampons per customer each month, redeemed through the Lidl Plus app.

Lidl has branches in Ballymoney, Coleraine and Portrush.

Since April, Lidl Northern Ireland has also been making regular donations of sanitary wear to the Simon Community Northern Ireland to ensure people experiencing homelessness - who may not have access to a smartphone - can access these essential products.

Period poverty is described as the lack of access to sanitary products, menstrual hygiene education, toilets, hand washing facilities, and, or, waste management, and is a growing issue in Northern Ireland which has become more prevalent since the Covid-19 pandemic.

A survey by equality charity Plan International UK recently found that more than a third (36%) of girls aged 14-21 in the UK have struggled to afford or access period products during the Coronavirus pandemic - up a fifth on last year.

The Homeless Period Belfast was established in 2016 to raise awareness of period poverty locally.

The volunteer-led, not-for-profit group works to provide period products to those in need and actively campaigns for free period products for all girls and women across the region.