GENEROUS Daily Echo readers flooded a Southampton period poverty group with support, following an article in the paper last year.

Vie Portland, who set up the Red Box Project Southampton, which supplies schools and youth groups with boxes of sanitary towels, tampons and other related items, was overwhelmed by the response she received to the article, which ran in Lifestyle in November.

Following the article, two further Red Box Projects have been set up in the area, Vie’s group has more than quadrupled in supporters.

At the time, Vie explained why she had set up the group.

“It’s hard to believe that girls are having to miss school or use things like socks instead of sanitary towels, in this day and age,” she said.

“Girls are missing school, risking infection and may be too concerned that they are going to start leaking in class to be able to concentrate.”

She said that while many people questioned whether reports of period poverty were accurate, many more were moved to help.

“One guy responded on a thread about the story and ordered almost £100 worth of sanitary products from ASDA,” she says.

“The delivery guys were obviously pretty baffled about what had been ordered.

“The story had an amazing response, I didn’t get much sleep for the first few days, because people were messaging me at all times of day and night wanting to help, and I always feel I have to respond immediately. It’s been amazing that people have been so keen to support it.”

The Red Box Project Southampton’s Facebook group went from around 200 members to almost 900 in a matter of days.

Offers of locations to set up donation points began coming in, as did donations, both of products and cash, and requests for boxes to go into schools.

Vie was contacted by Linzi Patterson, who was keen to coordinate a Red Box Project in the west of Southampton, so Vie’s group is now Itchen, while Linzi runs the Red Box Project Southampton Test Area.

“I read the Echo article about the Red Box Project Southampton, and when I got in touch to offer support, it was highlighted that there was nothing being coordinated in the Southampton-Test side,” she says.

“I was so shocked when I read the article and was in disbelief that in 2017 there are so many young people unable or too embarrassed to buy products to get them through their periods, resulting in some skipping schools and damaging their education! I decided that I was going to set up a just giving page and a Facebook group, both under the name ‘Red Box Project Southampton Test Area’ and see if there was anyone that would offer me any donations to set the ball rolling.

“I have often volunteered my time working with different charities. In recent years I have collected food and warm clothes and made stockings which I gave to the homeless for Christmas. This year I feel like this project is such a worthwhile cause that I’m willing to commit to something that, hopefully, will keep going and help many young people over the years!”