Katharine Spencer-Brown, the Isle of Wight co-coordinator for the non-political, community-led Red Box Project, an initiative that aims to end period poverty in schools across the Island, shares this response following last week’s full council debate. Ed
The Red Box Project – Isle of Wight (RBP) would like to say ‘thank you’ to Cllr Michael Lilley (Independent Green) who proposed a motion at last Wednesday’s Isle of Wight Full Council Meeting (catch up here) to support the Red Box Project and to raise awareness of period poverty on the Island.
Cllr Lilley’s motion read:
Resolved that Isle of Wight Council supports the IW Red Box Project and campaign in their endeavour to raise awareness and tackle period poverty which results in an estimate of one in ten girls in IW schools not able to afford sanitary products through provision of free products in all schools across the Island.
Despite his best efforts, he was unexpectedly faced with an amendment proposed by Cllr Chris Whitehouse (Conservative) which sought to remove from the motion the words ‘Red Box Project’.
The Council voted to accept the amended motion.
Spencer-Brown: Disappointed council voted not to support Cllr Lilley’s motion
Katharine Spencer-Brown, coordinator of the project said,
“It is wonderful to have the support of Cllr Lilley and I’m extremely grateful to him. By him bringing this motion, it has highlighted the issue of Period Poverty here on the Island as well as highlighting the kindness of the community who have, and continue, to donate menstrual items and appropriate pants to stock the Red Boxes.
“I am disappointed that the Council voted not to support the motion put forward by Cllr Lilley, but work continues and only today I delivered a further three Red Boxes to Schools in Ryde and East Cowes.”
Lilley: Cllr Brading keen to meet RBP leaders
Cllr Lilley said,
“IW Council Cabinet Members did state they supported Red Box Project including Cllr Brading, Cabinet Member for Children Services.
“What they were not prepared to do was agree to wording that identified a specific group, which was the whole point of my motion.
“However, Council Services such as the Library are taking donation boxes enthusiastically.
“Cllr Brading does want meet Red Box leaders. So some good outcomes.”
Find out more about the project by visiting the Facebook Page.
Following publication of the above, Independent councillor, Cllr Debbie Andre, told OnTheWight,
“I am bitterly disappointed that Cllr Whitehouse saw fit to try to gain cheap political capital by putting in an amendment which effectively removed the Red Box Project from the motion. I first became aware of the RBP and their sterling work in raising awareness of sanitary product poverty through the Inspiring Women Group of which I am a founder member.
“I raised the point that in taking their name out of the motion, it then became ineffectual as it was their ‘brand’ that people could identify with and which would encourage them to engage with this issue that is prevalent on our Island.
“It’s unclear what Cllr Whitehouse’s true intention was in acting in this way, but I believe the effect of his actions has been both negative and derogatory to Island women of all ages, who he plainly has no understanding of or regard for.
“I fully support Cllr Lilley and voted against the amendment for this reason. I will continue to both support and promote the Red Box Project.”
Image: Red Boxes being delivered to Ryde Academy