Social enterprise tackling period poverty lands its sanitary products in Co-op

A social enterprise tackling period poverty is celebrating after the Co-op started selling its sanitary products.

Hey Girls sells its products on a “buy one, give one” model – meaning for every pack purchased, another is donated to a girl or woman in the UK in need.

Following a £50,000 investment from the Big Issue Invest (BII) Power Up programme, its daytime and overnight “Sani pads” and menstrual cups can now be found in 184 Co-op stores across the UK.

The news was announced as BII launched its investment programme for 2019 at the Co-op store in Frederick Street, Edinburgh.

Celia Hodson, who founded Hey Girls with her daughters Kate and Becky, said: “Gaining a listing in one of the world’s largest consumer co-operatives, owned by millions of members, gives us a real buzz.

“Co-op customers selecting a Hey Girls product in store know the more period products we sell, the more period product we can donate to their local community.

“Box for box. Simple – that’s why we’re different from all the other product manufacturers and why our values align completely with the Co-op.”

BII’s Power Up programme has raised £1.4 million since 2018 and delivered more than 1,000 hours of business mentoring.

Power Up Scotland, pioneered by BII, is funded by partners Aberdeen Standard Investments, the University of Edinburgh and the Scottish Government, Brodies LLP, Places for People and Experian.

It is aimed at enabling up to 20 Scottish social ventures to access loan funding of up to £50,000 over the next two years.

BII chief executive Danyal Sattar said: “We’re really proud to have supported such a dynamic social enterprise.

“It’s fantastic to see how the Power Up programme has made a crucial difference to social ventures such as Hey Girls, which has enjoyed unprecedented growth since being founded in January 2018.”

Last year Hey Girls was listed in both Asda and Waitrose and the company is a major supplier in the Scottish Government’s initiative to provide access to free sanitary products to pupils and students in Scotland.

Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell MSP said: “It’s great to see the social enterprise Hey Girls get the help they need to expand through the Power Up Scotland programme.”

Victoria Haigh, category buyer for the Co-op, said: “At Co-op we know that period poverty is a much wider issue across the UK and internationally.

“We are proud of our partnership with Hey Girls, particularly as their ‘buy one, give one’ initiative aligns with our community values.

“We are delighted to list the brand at the Co-op knowing that the products will give back to the wider community.”