It’s been quite a bloody year for Bloody Good Period. This time last year, we were a wee fledgling - a light bit of spotting ‘pon a pad with founder Gabby flying solo. Fast-forward 12 months and BGP is a full-frontal, unpluggable flow powered by a squad of over 60 volunteers.
The core of that crew are our SafeStore volunteers: 54 Bloody Babes have been inducted by our incredible Volunteer & Storage Manager Anna (and we even have a waiting list of 45 people!).
Those fantastic 54 now volunteer on the reg, unpacking, logging, sorting and storing the huge amount of donations we receive each week. Together, our SafeStore volunteers donate a whopping 80 hours on average every month - sending out 2,000 pads to the projects and drop-ins we support.
Where do the pads go? I hear you ask. Well, thanks to the steady flow of donations we have coming in each week, we now supply menstrual products, nappies and toiletries to eight asylum seeker drop-ins every month! Seven of these projects are London-based, the other is up in Leeds. And we also provide ad hoc relief - back in October we even donated a bunch of supplies to the Dominica Relief Effort.
A heavy flow of fundraisers and donations
Of course, we couldn’t do any of the work we do to without donations. And boy have we had a TONNE! So many, in fact, that our storage locker has been close to bursting on more than one occasion. And, after an influx of Christmas donations earlier this month, we were forced to upgrade to a second storage locker.
As well as the generous donations we receive daily via our Amazon Wish List, JustGiving page and DAME box, we’ve been thrilled and grateful to receive donation boosts from collections and fundraisers organised by wonderful individuals and organisations throughout this year.
From pad parties, Bloody Good brunches, office whip-rounds and uni society collections, we have been blown away by the efforts of all those who have rallied round to get their friends, family, colleagues and clients to support BGP. We even had our first North American collection take place in Canada! Next step: get Trudeau on board.
When it comes to fundraisers (and padraisers!), there have been some absolute corkers. A true crime pub quiz, Anxieteehee’s comedy night, Mush’s Mumday, Super Yonic’s female art fest, a collection at Throwing Shade’s London live show and another at The Nopebook’s launch party - plus our very own Bloody Good Crafternoons! Each one has raised pads and £££s that have been hugely appreciated and well-used to keep fighting period poverty.
As we hit publish on this post our JustGiving fund has reached a whopping total of £11,281. Throwback to September when we got a mighty boost on JustGiving from people donating their first Jane Austen £10 notes. We even received a couple of physical notes in the post!
We’ve got to give a shout-out to all those who have generously asked pals to donate to our JustGiving fund as birthday or Christmas gifts, too - with special mention to Bee and Michael who requested that their wedding guests donate to BGP. If we condoned the use of #relationshipgoals this is where we’d write it.
The creative community has got BGP’s back too - with artists, illustrators and designers aplenty donating portions of their profits to us throughout the year, including JessieVE, This is a Vagina, andsmilestudio and Hello I’m Kate. Check them out and TREAT YO SELF (and you’ll be treating us, too!).
Not to mention our very own bunch of #bloodygoodcreatives. We know that not all our supporters are in a position to give cash. That’s why we formed the #bloodygoodcreative network where artists, illustrators and designers can volunteer their creative skills instead - be it creating graphics for our social media, collection or event posters or even merch. We’ve had some incredible creations this year, including our first Bloody Good feminist festive card, bespoke embroidery and gifs galore!
From creatives to civil servants, a huge thanks to the Cloud 9 Civil Service Faststream Fund Group, a group of civil servants based in London and Cardiff, who have committed to spending 100 hours and raising £10,000 to support BGP. We are super grateful and can’t wait to see what they do in 2018. An extra special thank you to one of the group, Patrick McGranaghan, who nominated us for Starbucks’ #CheerForGood campaign, awarding us £500 in the process!
And not forgetting a BIG big-up to the Alec Dickson Trust who have awarded us £300 to keep our storage unit running and support our current SafeStore volunteers and the recruitment and training of new ones. We really bloody appreciate it.
Phew! That’s a lotta fundraising/padraising/donating/creating/general good-deeding indeed.
Protests, prosecco and period conferences
Throughout this year we’ve been thrilled to wave the Bloody Good flag (or rather hook up the BGP banner) at a load of brilliant events. From decorating knicker biscuits with Shoreditch Sisters to running stalls at the Fawcett Society’s #FeministFutures conference, the Jewish Museum’s Young Women’s Empowerment Festival and the Feminist Library’s Winter Fayre. Each of the events has given us the chance to spread the Bloody Good word that bit further and up our volunteers and supporters.
What’s better than partnering up with a bunch of like-minded babes to fight period poverty? Doing it over prosecco, of course. This year saw us collab with VERVE for a prosecco think tank in St James’ park - complete with maxi pad name badges! And again for the feminist Halloween party of our *dreams*. Both events raised hundreds of pounds and piles of pads. We can’t wait for more prosecco-fuelled fun and fundraising with VERVE in 2018!
Bubbly aside, we’ve been really proud to be a part of two hugely important events taking action to tackle period poverty this year. Firstly, the UK’s first period poverty conference, which took place in Leeds as part of International Day of the Girl. Hosted by Plan UK, No More Taboo and Freedom4Girls. Break the Barriers brought together charities, NGOs, activists, politicians and educators to look at the issues surrounding menstruation that young people face across the globe.
More recently, we were chuffed to be an official partner of the #FreePeriods protest in London. The event gathered hundreds of supporters and heard from stellar speakers including Paula Sherriff, Jess Phillips, Tina Leslie, Adwoa Aboah, Cariad Llloyd, Aisling Bea - and our very own Gabby Edlin! You can read Gabby’s speech in full here. It was fantastic to see the issue of period poverty making the headlines - and raising the eyebrows of passersby who looked on aghast at giant tampons and gloriously gory signs being thrust in the air.
Spreading the Bloody Good word
As well as shouting about periods - and vulvas and blood clots - into a mic opposite Downing Street, BGP founder Gabby has been spreading the Bloody Good word (and her Manchester lilt) far and wide this year. She’s made it on the small screen, chatting to Cariad Lloyd on Last Leg: Correspondents, on Sky’s What’s Up TV and on BBC London.
Gabby also shared her experience of starting a movement on a shoestring at WeHuddle back in November and told the Bloody Good story (so far) at the 3FF Interfaith Summit and Limmud, with an added chat on the UnOrthadox podcast.
But her highlight? It’s gotta be talking to a bunch of brilliant teenage girls at Eltham Hill School as part of International Day of the Girl. Gabby got her group of gals to unpick the bullshit that is period product advertising and design their own ads. Spoiler alert: they wanna see RED BLOOD.
We’ve also been bloody lucky to receive a load of brilliant press coverage this year - with features in the Guardian, Buzzfeed, Emerald Street, Metro, The Pool and Standard Issue plus mentions on The Guilty Feminist, The High Low and The Debrief Podcast, among others! All of these features have been integral in raising awareness of period poverty and increasing our donations so we can continue supporting those experiencing it.
Period pals and partners
We couldn’t reflect on 2017 without giving a bloody big mention to CupAware! The partnership between Bloody Good Period and The Cup Effect was born when Gabby met megababe Mandu Reid at the Women of the World Festival earlier this year.
Nine months later and together they’ve successfully run the first three CupAware parties - bringing people together to talk menstrual cups and periods over wine and nibbles, in turn demystifying these often-maligned reusables, in the style of an Ann Summers party (minus the love eggs and lube).
The brilliant thing about CupAware is that tickets cover the cost of a CupAware workshop and menstrual cup for an asylum seeker or refugee. This is just the beginning for CupAware - find out more about the initiative and keep an eye out for tickets to more parties in the new year, including a very special party at Women of the World Festival in March.
Talking of partnerships, we’ve been fortunate to forge many. From teaming up with Pink Parcel for their I’m On campaign to DAME box facilitating monthly subscription donations - and Freda, Flo and Callaly getting behind us with top-quality donations - we’re so pleased to be collaborating with the most-forward thinking period companies in the business.
Like I said, it’s been quite a year! And there’s so much more to come in 2018. Kicking off with the reveal of Pink Parcel’s I’m On tees, a January Bloody Good Crafternoon, updates on our regional expansion *and* our Bloody Funny comedy night in February, the new year is set to be very exciting indeed.
Watch this space...