Period poverty on the rise during pandemic, warns women's group

A Tricky Period donation box in Co-Op, Kentish Town Road

A Tricky Period donation box in Co-Op, Kentish Town Road - Credit: Caroline Allouf

A north London women's group fighting period poverty has appealed for more donations following increased demand over the latest lockdown.

Tricky Period, an initiative born out of homelessness group Streets Kitchen, found significantly more people were unable to afford sanitary products during the pandemic.

The volunteer-led grassroots group launched at Camden’s Vagina Museum in January 2020, and it now works in Camden, Haringey, Islington and Hackney.

Founder Caroline Allouf, 45, told the Ham&High: “There’s been a real increase because you're finding people who were just getting by before, this has pushed them over the edge.

“Women I’ve met on the streets were using newspapers, and putting leaves in their knickers, and I knew people who were shoplifting for period products.

Tricky Period founder Caroline Allouf

Tricky Period founder Caroline Allouf - Credit: Caroline Allouf

“But now I’m speaking to women who aren’t homeless but are also using all sorts just to get by, especially single mums. 

“For families in real poverty, one of the first things they let go is sanitary products, because if they've got children they will be the priority.”

Most Read

Before Covid-19, Tricky Period stocked libraries with sanitary products which could be accessed discreetly, such as library books over the counter.

Caroline, who lives in Haringey, said: “It's the one place in the community where people have no questions asked, anyone's welcome, and a lot of homeless people would go there anyway, to be warm.”

The groups also handed out ‘tricky kits’ of underwear and wipes to women’s hostels.

Co-op workers in Grays Inn Road

Co-op workers in Grays Inn Road - Credit: Caroline Allouf

In November, national charity Bloody Good Period said they had supplied 53,000 products since March, nearly six times more than before the pandemic.

Tricky Period adapted its service to keep supporting vulnerable women, providing sanitary products in family centres in Camden and community centres in Islington.

But Caroline said many schools and colleges weren’t supplying products to their students. She added: “I'm not gonna lie, it's quite overwhelming. 

“At the moment, it's very much about having to make it work in the middle of this pandemic and making sure people have access to supplies.”

To support Tricky Period email or visit

READ MORE: Tricky Period: Campaigners launch period poverty scheme across north London amid ‘scary’ demand for help