Student Groups 3rd place

Once a Month, University of Manchester Students' Union

Once a Month, is a project where student volunteers put together packages containing sanitary and toiletry items to distribute to a range of charity partners. The project aims to reduce period poverty, by increasing access to essential sanitary products. The project also alongside their packing, works to reduce the stigma surrounding periods and raise awareness of period poverty so the issue is not overshadowed by taboo.

The project aims to help women who are homeless, hidden homeless or living on the edge of poverty. It does this, by working with local homeless charities, to ensure the women who are impacted by Once a Month also have access to long-term support provided by these charities.

This year, the project has worked to continue to grow its online presence, allowing the project to keep in contact with the seven more recently set up branches around the country. Having both an online and in-person presence allows the project to be flexible for students and more easily cope with the constantly changing times of the pandemic ensuring the project remains on-going. 

Strathclyde Project, University of Manchester Students' Union

Strathclyde is a student-led project based in a shelter for women and children experiencing homelessness. The project sees a small group of volunteers attend the shelter on a weekly basis to run fun, recreational activities for the residents. These typically include arts and crafts, games for the children, and time spent gardening or maintaining the shelter. The project aims to connect with the residents through these activities, providing an opportunity to come together in a more relaxed, social environment to support the health and wellbeing of the women at the shelter.

The Strathclyde project works in collaboration with staff at the shelter to provide respite and support for mental health and wellbeing for the residents. The project looks to help residents feel part of the wider community and have access to a wider range of activities and options than the shelter itself is able to provide. 

The leaders take time to plan fun and engaging activities that will be enjoyable for the shelter residents. The sessions are designed to allow for easy interaction between the volunteers and shelter residents so that they can chat to one another, enjoy an activity together, and feel part of a wider community. For many residents of temporary housing, it can be easy for people to feel disconnected, isolated, and lonely, especially for women who have had to flee dangerous situations.