Burnley Football Club has committed to providing female supporters with free sanitary products at the Turf Moor stadium.
Supported by defenders Matt Lowton and James Tarkowski, the scheme will see sanitary products made freely available in all concourse, accessible, staff and corporate toilets from the Clarets’ next home fixture against Brighton and Hove Albion onwards.
The campaign will also provide sanitary products to the food bank element of the Burnley Community Kitchen, which is based in Burnley town centre.
Burnley Football Club has partnered with the club’s official charity, Burnley FC in the Community, and the On the Ball campaign to deliver the scheme.
The On the Ball campaign, founded by three female football fans, aims to lift the stigma around periods and highlight the issue of period poverty.
Burnley Football Club has committed to providing free sanitary products for the following reasons:
• To support our female fans, who we believe should have access to these essential items free of charge – just like toilet roll and soap – whenever they are needed.
• To open up the conservation about periods and to normalise a topic that remains taboo. 48% of girls aged 14-21 are embarrassed by their periods and, of the 49% of girls who have missed an entire day of school because of their period, 59% have made up a lie or an alternate excuse as to why they are absent. This shame and embarrassment isn’t fair and we want to part of a movement that changes this for good.
• The campaign also aims to highlight the very real issue of period poverty. According to Plan UK, 1 in 10 girls have been unable to afford sanitary products and as a result, are missing days at school.
Defender Matt Lowton explained his reasons for supporting the campaign: “I have a young daughter and thought of her having to miss school because she was too embarrassed to talk about something so normal really bothers me.
“I hope that by lending my support to this campaign I can be part of the change that helps to normalise this subject and, eventually, ensures these products are more freely available to girls and women everywhere – not just at Turf Moor.”
Defensive colleague Tarkowski added: “I wanted to back this campaign because I believe any movement that empowers people – whatever the situation – to feel they can talk openly, free from embarrassment and shame is something to support.
“Reading the statistics around the experiences girls and women have, as well as the shocking facts about those living in poverty, shows that change needs to happen.”
Siobhán McNamara, Marketing and Events Manager at Burnley FC in the Community, said: “This is a campaign we wanted to get behind as a show of solidarity to all Burnley FC’s female fans but also to be part of a conversation that we hope, in time, will create positive change for girls and women everywhere.
“It’s been fantastic to have the support of Matt and James and also that of the On the Ball campaign founders, who have already achieved such an impressive amount in this space.”
Mickaela McKinley from On the Ball added: “We're delighted that Burnley are providing free period products for their fans.
“Football clubs are putting periods firmly into public consciousness and helping to normalise the taboo subject of menstruation. This move further highlights the inclusive atmosphere at Turf Moor - we hope fans will be proud of the club for making such a forward-thinking change."
Funding for the initiative, kick-started by Lowton and Tarkowski, will continue via the club.
All statistics sourced from Plan UK.