New shop offers free period products to anyone who needs them in Milton Keynes
The caring owner wants to end period poverty and embarrassment
A caring new shop owner has launched a successful campaign to end period poverty in her area of MK.
Kayleigh McDonald achieved her dream this month of opening her own craft and gift shop called Shrimp & Doodle on Brooklands.
But the 32-year-old mum-of-two was determined to give something back to the community - and promptly devoted part of the space to free period products.
She launched an online appeal and an Amazon wishlist for donations and already has boxes of goods to give away.
Anybody in need can come into the shop and receive what they need, with no questions asked. If they are to embarrassed to ask, they can use the code word 'shrimp', said Kayleigh.
"I have wanted to do something like this for years and tried to volunteer for a charity a few years ago but I didn’t hear back.
"Now I have my own shop, I have the opportunity of being able to offer it to people when they come into the shop. With a secondary school just round the corner too I can see this being a really helpful addition to our local community."
Kayleigh has lived with stage 4 endometriosis for the past few years and despite a hysterectomy and various other excision surgeries she is still in pain every day.
"There is no cure for endometriosis and it’s unfortunately something I have to live with for the rest of my life. I now want to channel that negativity into doing something positive for my local community as it makes me so sad that period poverty affects so many people," she said.
"I want to do what I can to change that and I really couldn’t have done it without my amazing followers buying the products and donating them."
Kayleigh has run her own successful website, Pocket Perfect Designs for the past seven years, selling unique stationery products, and she ran the appeal for donations through that.
"I am absolutely blown away by the support my followers and local customers have given me. In just two days I now have boxes full of period products ready to give away, and I've also had over £200 in donations, which I put towards buying sets of reusable cloth pads. People will be given a choice of a set of reusable pads or disposable," she said.
Meanwhile Kayleigh is busy on another Shrimp & Doodle initiative to help the community - running free craft sessions for children during half term.
She has set up special craft tables in the Brooklands Square store and youngsters are having a ball getting creative. Already all the sessions have been fully booked.
All the materials are provided for free and Kayleigh hopes to soon expand into adult craft sessions too.
"I just want to be a real part of the community," she said.