Lidl Ireland will be offering free period products to shoppers via its Lidl Plus app as well as through donations to local organizations.

Lidl Ireland is set to become the first major retailer in the world to offer free period products in stores to women and girls across the Republic of Ireland affected by period poverty in partnership with Homeless Period Ireland and The Simon Communities of Ireland, the supermarket chain said in a statement today.

We're proud to announce that we are the first major retailer in the world to offer free period products in stores nationwide to combat period poverty in partnership with Homeless Period Ireland.

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— Lidl Ireland (@lidl_ireland) April 19, 2021

The supermarket chain said that a Plan International study found that almost 50 percent of girls aged between 12 and 19 in Ireland found it difficult to pay for sanitary products. 

The new initiative means that shoppers will be able to claim a dedicated coupon for a free box of sanitary pads or tampons per customer each month through the Lidl Plus app.

Starting April 19, those looking to get urgent access to period products can download Lidl’s app, Lidl Plus, and sign up to receive a free monthly coupon which they will receive on May 3 and then ongoing on monthly basis.

Shoppers can register for or opt out of the Period Product Support Programme online.

Lidl Ireland also announced that it is committing to quarterly donations of period products to The Simon Communities to ensure people experiencing homelessness - who may not have access to a smartphone - can access these essential products.

Lidl Ireland will also be working with the Ladies Gaelic Football Association (LGFA) to provide free female hygiene products in its clubs across the country with hopes to reach thousands of women and young girls who may not have access to these products on a regular basis. Lidl Ireland will additionally continue to provide free access to these products for its workforce.

Aoife Clarke, Head of Communications for Lidl Ireland, said: “At Lidl, it has long been our priority to support the communities we operate in across the country, and that has been even more prevalent since the onset of the pandemic.

"Since learning more about the growing issue of period poverty in Ireland, we’ve passionately felt that as a family retailer it’s in our communities’ best interest to support young girls and women who are affected by this issue.

Clarke added: "The guiding principle of this initiative is the inherent respect for the dignity of all those concerned, and it is our hope that it will have an impact those who would otherwise have to use less suitable materials or none at all.”

Claire Hunt, the founder of Homeless Period Ireland, said: “I’m delighted that Lidl Ireland have partnered with Homeless Period Ireland in order to take meaningful action against period poverty in Ireland.

"This initiative will ensure that those most in need will have the ability to access suitable period products."

Hunt added: “In a first world country like ours, no one should have to choose between feeding themselves and their family or buying period products. In collaboration with Homeless Period Ireland, Lidl Ireland are taking the lead in restoring dignity to people across the entire country.

"It is my hope that in due course much-anticipated legislation and measures will be implemented and ultimately Homeless Period Ireland and indeed initiatives like this one should no longer have to exist.”

Carla Rowe, Ladies Gaelic Football player and Lidl LGFA Brand Ambassador, said: “There has long been a stigma around menstruation in the public sphere, particularly when competing in sport and I’m delighted to see Lidl tackle this topic head-on, raising awareness and supporting women and girls affected by this issue across the country.”

*NEWS* @lidl_ireland to Combat Period Poverty by Offering Free Period Products in Stores Nationwide@HomelessPeriodD @SimonCommunity

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— Ladies Football (@LadiesFootball) April 19, 2021

Jennifer Kitson, National Partnerships Manager for Simon Communities commented: “We are delighted that Lidl have chosen Simon Communities to support through this initiative with Homeless Period Ireland and the LGFA.

"Access to sanitary products can be challenging for people experiencing homelessness and Lidl’s donations to our services will improve our supply of these essential items and mean greater access to sanitary products for our clients who need them, when they need them.”