Students and staff from Edinburgh Napier University came together yesterday (6 March) at a special event that aims to help end period poverty across the country.
All three of the University’s campuses – Merchiston, Sighthill and Craiglockhart – hosted a Bloody Big Brunch event.
Devised by creative marketing and PR agency Wire, along with social enterprise Hey Girls, the Bloody Big Brunch is a national campaign that sees brunch events hosted across the country to raise awareness of period poverty.
Instead of paying for entry, attendees paid for their food and drink with period product donations which will now be issued to a range of organisations across the UK including The Red Box Project, Girlguiding Scotland and others.
The Edinburgh Napier event is the first time the Bloody Big Brunch has been hosted in a University and has been organised by a student collective called ‘Bleedin’ Saor’.
Consisting of Product Design, Film and TV students from Edinburgh Napier’s School of Arts and Creative Industries, the group aims to raise awareness of period poverty and help put an end to the stigma surrounding ‘that time of the month’.
The events – which were open to all students from across the city, along with friends and staff of Edinburgh Napier – saw attendees able to donate or purchase sanitary products in return for a range of food, drink, activities and entertainment.
Bacon rolls, Virgin Mary cocktails, live music, a photo booth and drag queen performances were all on show across the three campuses. An educational workshop with the Hey Girls team and the chance to assemble sanitary product packs with handwritten messages to be donated to charities also took place.
The three events saw a total of nearly 400 boxes of sanitary products donated which will now be divided and sent to a variety of good causes across the country.
The Merchiston event also welcomed a number of distinguished guests including Aileen Campbell, Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government and MSP for Clydesdale and the entire Hey Girls team. Hey Girls is based in Edinburgh and has developed its own range of environmentally friendly sanitary products that tackle period poverty across the country.
Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell said: “I am proud that Scotland has taken world leading action to ensure access to sanitary products for all those who need them. In Scotland free products are now available for all students and more products will become available through local authorities in the coming months. I am pleased to see the number of people and organisations coming together to take action on this and the Bloody Big Brunch is a creative and fun way to address the stigma around periods.”
The Bleedin Saor team said: “We were so excited to be hosting the first ever University Bloody Big Brunch. It was such a fun event that had a lot of work put into it, and all for a great cause. We are very fortunate to be working with Wire Media, Hey Girls and Edinburgh Napier to make this happen - lets end period poverty together!”
Celia Hodson, founder of Hey Girls, said: “The full Hey Girls Team was really looking forward to the first Edinburgh Napier University Bloody Big Brunch, and I was excited to be part of the conversation around menstruation with the University student community that will attend.
“This was a great opportunity to widen the visibility around Period Poverty in the UK, and open up the conversation around menstrual stigma and taboos. Hey Girls products are all plastic free and if the event can help students switch to a biodegradable and sustainable product then that change will have a dramatic impact on the environment and their long term health.
“Hey Girls has been working with a very impressive group of Edinburgh Napier students around period poverty and ways to dispense period products in washrooms. They fully understand the importance of normalising product visibility and working alongside them is helping us take our Buy One Give One period products out to a much wider community.”
Lee Beattie of the Bloody Big Brunch said: “As a society, we need to send out the message that menstruation isn’t dirty and it certainly isn’t a luxury. That’s why the Bloody Big Brunch is important. It’s an accessible way to get involved and spread the word that period products are a basic essential - not nice-to-have.”
What is Bleedin' Saor?
The main team behind the Edinburgh Napier edition of the Bloody Big Brunch is Sam Calder, Hannah Stevens and Brogan Henderson. All three are Product Design students and members of Bleedin’ Saor.
They have been ably assisted by Edinburgh Napier event management students Naomi Taylor, Sheena Mulligan, Violet Francis, Jessica McClure and Elpida Pehlivanidou.
Alongside this event, the three have also been working with the University’s Property and Facilities team to roll out a new dispenser for the University’s free sanitary products that it provides for students.
Also underway is work by the BA Film and BA Television students on an exciting collaborative documentary project about period poverty.
The film takes its inspiration from the Scottish government’s ground-breaking initiative to provide free period products in all schools, colleges and universities and will look into the scale of the problem and the stigma and challenges faced by girls and women around menstruation.
Following the journey of the Product Design students, the documentary will also cover the team’s trip to Uganda later on this year, where they will research international contexts and projects tackling sustainable period provision. The film is directed by Cosima de los Arcos - fourth year BA Film – and will be produced by Lizzie Gardiner – third year BA Film.
The entire Bleedin’ Saor project has been co-ordinated by Product Design lecturer, Ruth Cochrane, Dr. Kirsten Macleod and SACI placements officer, Lindsay Morgan and has received funding from Santander Mobility Grants and other funding initiatives.
More information on Bleedin’ Saor can be found at https://www.bleedinsaor.com