Northern Ireland news

Lidl becomes first supermarket to offer free period products to those in need

Lidl Northern Ireland will be the first supermarket retailer in Northern Ireland to provide free period products to customers as part of a major new initiative aimed at tackling period poverty. Pictured 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.

SUPERMARKET chain Lidl is to become the first retailer of its kind in Northern Ireland to provide free period products to customers.

The 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 through the store's Lidl Plus app.

A similar scheme to tackle period poverty was rolled out by the company in the Republic earlier this year, which led to 20,000 people signing up.

Since April, Lidl has also been making regular donations of sanitary wear to the Simon Community 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 has escalated throughout the pandemic.

The Homeless Period Belfast project was set up five years ago to raise awareness and to provide free products to women and girls in need.

Katrina McDonnell, project founder, said she "thrilled" to see a major business like Lidl tackle the issue "head on".

"I hope that today’s announcement paves the way for other retailers to follow suit and join the fight to end period poverty in Northern Ireland," she said.

Conor Boyle, regional director of Lidl in the north, expressed his pride at the retailer's involvement.

"It's been sobering to learn the full extent of period poverty and to understand the level of support required to those in need," he said.

"Access to safe, effective and hygienic period products is a basic right for those who menstruate and it’s shocking to hear that many are having to rely on local charities or less than suitable alternative materials to provide this. As a family retailer very much embedded in our local communities, we know we have a critical role to play in helping tackle this issue."

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