The discount supermarket chain has recently joined the council’s Salford Assist scheme, where residents in need of emergency food are given vouchers to spend in certain local stores. The move takes pressure off city food banks, freeing up their stock for other families in need.
Now Aldi has donated a lorry full of sanitary pads, tampons and nappies worth around £2,500 to help women on low incomes struggling to cope with the cost of periods and caring for children. National research shows women spend an average of £500 per year on menstrual hygiene products while researchers estimate it costs around £800 to keep a child in nappies for the first two years of their life.
A survey of local women using food banks and crisis support services was carried out by Salford City Council and Salford Citizen’s Advice (SCA).
It found that just under half of the women who responded (48%) said they had struggled at some point to afford sanitary protection while a third (28%) said they had avoided paying bills to use the money on sanitary ware.
Almost all (98%) said they regularly had to go without proper protection and use inadequate substitutes such as socks, tissues or rags while a fifth (17.5%) said they had been excluded from doing something important because of inadequate sanitary protection.
Deputy City Mayor Paula Boshell said raising awareness of the problems faced by low-income families and securing the donation was part of the city’s work with businesses to get maximum social value for every pound spent in Salford.
“Sanitary products are not luxury items – they are essential for women’s health and dignity and should be either freely available to women on low incomes or made truly affordable for them.
“New York has already started to provide free hygiene products in public schools, prisons and homeless shelters and Scotland is testing a pilot scheme in Aberdeen. I would like to see England follow suit and do more to help low-income women.
“Nappies are also essential items and this generous donation will ease the pressure on local families.”
City Mayor Paul Dennett added:
“This initiative is part of Salford’s 10% Better campaign which is about us achieving at least that level of improvement in 11 key areas to see real change in the city.
“One of those key areas is reducing poverty and we are very grateful to Aldi for signing up to support the campaign and for their generous donation. It will be very much appreciated by local families.”
Mayor Dennett said the council will also work with Greater Manchester charities to expand their operations into Salford, encourage local food bank donation points to accept sanitary products and join national campaigns to put pressure on the government to make sanitary products freely available in schools and to women receiving certain targeted benefits.
Councillor Kate Lewis, one of the councillors who first raised the issue, added:
“Having heard so many heart rending stories about what women and girls have experienced, I felt we must help them avoid the embarrassment of coping without decent sanitary products.”
Ruth Doyle, Regional Managing Director at Aldi, said:
“It’s really important to us to create social value in the communities we work in, and to improve the lives of local people. This is why we’ve partnered with Salford City Council on the 10% Better campaign, which is an excellent force of good that’s working to alleviate poverty in the region.”
Gemma Griffin, help through crisis advisor from CAB said:
“We are overwhelmed with Aldi’s generosity. This will make a huge difference to many, many women across Salford.”