A few weeks ago we noticed a post on social media about ‘All Yours,’ a local service that provides boxes of sanitary products to anyone who needs them. We thought this was such a wonderful idea, periods are something that we all go through but unfortunately not everyone who menstruates can afford or access sanitary products. We were keen to find out more about the service so we got in touch with Caroline and Cara, the mother and daughter team behind All Yours. We asked them some questions about their period boxes and the reasons for starting All Yours. Read our interview with Caroline below.

How did All Yours come about?

At the end of November 2020, Cara and I had a conversation about when our periods were due around Christmas time. I practise menstrual cycle awareness and track all my cycles and I knew that my period had started on Christmas Eve the year before. We discussed how rubbish it would be to have your period over Christmas, and it took a turn to discuss how bad it would be to have your period but no sanitary products.

We had a bit of a discussion about period poverty and decided that we would make some boxes of sanitary products to give to West Berkshire Food Bank before Christmas so that they could help women have a clean and comfortable period over Christmas.

We promoted our idea on Facebook in our village and some of the other villages close to us and we received a huge amount of support. We far exceeded our original target of £250.00 on JustGiving and had countless sanitary products donated to us through our Amazon Wishlist and dropped off with us. We dropped off almost 200 boxes with the foodbank and some homeless shelters before Christmas and decided to keep going in the new year.

There has been a huge amount of demand for our boxes from charity organisations and individual women so we decided that whilst we still have support from the public, we would continue to run All Yours. We now have volunteers covering West Berkshire, Reading, Basingstoke, Swindon, and Bristol and we have distributed over 1000 boxes.

How does it all work?

All Yours helps in several ways.

We supply organisations such as foodbanks, women’s charities, supported living units and schools with period boxes. There are two types that we make. One is an adult box which has sanitary pads and tampons. The other is a teen box which contains sanitary pads specifically for the teenaged and younger girls. Both boxes are designed to last for one period.

We have a website – periodbox.uk – which people can visit and request the types of sanitary products they need. Through the website we can offer reusable sanitary pads and menstrual cups as well as the standard pads, tampons, and teen pads. We post or hand deliver these boxes depending on where the person is located. We generally can send more items in these boxes and aim to give people at least a couple of month’s supply.

Finally, we have a flyer system in place with some of the local foodbanks. They put a flyer in their food parcels which sends people who need help with sanitary products to our website to request what they need. This saves someone feeling embarrassed by having to ask for products over the phone or face to face. We then deliver the box or post it, depending on location.

How can people access your services?

People can collect a box from the organisations that we supply them to or they can request a box at https://periodbox.uk/request-an-all-yours-box/.

Is it open to anyone or does certain criteria need to be met?

We don’t ask any questions when people request a box so we just trust that the people asking for a box are in genuine need.

Do you need to live in a certain area to be able to access the services?

We cover West Berkshire, Reading, Basingstoke, Swindon and surrounding areas. We don’t like to turn people away so will do our best to help if a woman from outside the areas we cover asks for help.

Our website was recently shared on a freebie/giveaway site and it was heart-breaking to screen the requests but there is no way we could have sent out all the boxes we were asked for across the UK.

Can people donate products/money to help your cause? Are there any other ways people can help?

We always appreciate any support people wish to offer.

You can donate money which pays for postage, products and reusable products:

https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/allyours?utm_term=e3v7KNVYv

You can donate products through our Amazon Wishlist:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/hz/wishlist/ls/31UPM9U1DHSGZ?ref_=wl_share

If you live locally to one of our volunteers, we are happy to collect donations or have them dropped off with us. You just have to contact us to find out where your nearest volunteer is.

Visit the All Yours Facebook page here.