A SPECIAL brunch event explaining how Milford Haven School is tackling period poverty, was recently held.

More than 137,000 girls in the UK missed school last year because they could not afford or did not have access to sanitary products.

The event at the school was the first of its kind in all of Pembrokeshire, with over 20 guests attending and paying for their brunch with a donation of sanitary products.

Milford Haven School Community Engagement Officer Gemma Baker, who organised the event, said: “Period poverty is something we feel very passionate about tackling here at Milford Haven School, and the above statistics are just a glimpse into the reality of the issue facing many of our young people today.

“Last Thursday we held a ‘Bloody Big Brunch’, this was as part of a national initiative to raise awareness of period poverty and also implement support for those affected.

“All products collected will be used to top up our ‘Red Boxes’ around school, which are free supplies any of our girls can access when needed.

“We also used the event as a platform to discuss our plans on how we intend to spend our period poverty grant.

“The Welsh Assembly Government has allocated a pot of money to all secondary schools in Wales to help address period poverty in our own communities. For us, the grant spend will occur in waves, with the first phase being focused on reusable items for our sixth form girls.”

She added: “WAG has requested a minimum of 10 per cent spend of the grant money, but MHS has already spent over 50 per cent of our grant money on reusable items and looking to spend more in this area.

“We are the only school so far to focus our spending in this way, and aim to spend the majority, if not all, of our grant money on reusable items to maximise the impact our spending can make.”

The brunch guests were given a free sample pack of the reusable items that are offered to the school’s sixth form girls.

Head girl Emma Nicholas and deputy head girl Carys Wild said: “All sixth form girls support the proposed use of our period poverty grant money, and are happy that the conversation on a topic typically shunned has been comfortably opened.

“Some are thrilled to finally have the financial access to environmentally-friendly products, some are only just hearing about reusable alternatives and some are happy continuing with what they already use.

“The educational and relaxed atmosphere of the brunch helped open people's minds to an issue that is unfortunately often ignored due to stigma.

“It was an incredibly valuable community experience that helped establish the beginning of a positive change here in Milford Haven.

“We were pleasantly surprised with the warm welcome the unconventional topic received and the discussions it has started.”

They added: “Here at Milford Haven School, the comfort and safety of our students from all backgrounds is paramount to their education and well-being, this scheme enables us to continue to progress and benefit our pupils and community.”