A CAPITAL retail park is to hand out free sanitary products – believed to be the first in Scotland to do so.
Bosses at Fort Kinnaird have installed a dispenser offering complimentary sanitary products to support those in period poverty.
It follows a high-profile campaign to tackle the issue led by the campaigning organisations and taken on by the Scottish Government.
Fort Kinnaird deputy centre manager Lindy Watson said: “Fort Kinnaird is proud to offer free sanitary products to women in need.
“No woman or girl should have to suffer the indignity of being unable to afford sanitary protection.
“Fort Kinnaird is one of Edinburgh’s busiest retail and leisure destinations, and it is our responsibility to make sure all visitors have a comfortable and respectful experience.”
Shoppers in need are invited to take a free product from the machine – located in the women’s bathroom facilities at the customer service centre of the shopping complex.
Councillor Lezley Cameron said she hoped others would follow Fort Kinnaird’s lead “in supporting the many women and girls who find themselves affected by from period poverty”.
The Newcraighall centre joins iconic Edinburgh landmarks including the Scottish Parliament in offering free sanitary protection to patrons.
Holyrood took the move in May following concern over the accessibility and affordability of tampons and towels.
The decision from the all-party Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body means free sanitary products will be available in all 42 women’s toilets.
It was hailed as a “win for gender equality” by MSP Kezia Dugdale and is expected to cost between £2,000 and £3,000 a year.
A £5.2 million fund has been set up to provide free sanitary products in schools, colleges and universities.
The Scottish Government claimed to be the first government in the world to make such products available to all pupils and students.
The scheme is aimed at helping to prevent so-called period poverty among Scotland’s 395,000 school pupils and college and university students.
Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell said: “In a country as rich as Scotland it’s unacceptable that anyone should struggle to buy basic sanitary products.
“I am proud that Scotland is taking this world-leading action to fight period poverty.”
Girl guides led the campaign to end period poverty and tackle the stigma around periods over the past year – lobbying MSPs and collecting supplies for local shelters and food banks.
A Girlguiding Scotland spokeswoman said: “We’re delighted that Fort Kinnaird has committed to making period products freely available in their bathrooms.
“We know that period poverty is something that affects many people and isn’t confined to the school day or term times.
“So it’s fantastic to see public spaces, like Fort Kinnaird, following the example of the Scottish Government, who have committed to making period products freely available in schools, and making sure people can access these products.”