Period poverty in Scotland could be alleviated thanks to a new app which allows users to identify locations where sanitary items can be accessed for free.

The ‘PickUpMyPeriod’ app currently links to over 700 venues in many communities where free products are available – and the number is expected to grow as more local authorities sign up.

The innovative platform comes after Scotland became the first country in the world to make period products widely available for free – firstly in schools, colleges and universities, then followed by wider access in communities.

Social justice secretary Shona Robison launched the app virtually with pupils from St Paul’s High School in Glasgow, where the council has worked closely with students in the delivery of free period products since the policy was introduced.

Ms Robison said: “The app is a fantastic tool that will help everyone who wants to access free period products for themselves, a family member or friend to easily find them in many places across Scotland.

“I’m thankful for the support of local authorities in the implementation of access to free period products in Scotland. Young women and girls have been crucial in developing the best ways to access products to meet their needs and I’m grateful to them for sharing their views.”

The Period Products (Free Provision) Scotland Act 2021 places duties on local authorities and education providers to make period products obtainable free of charge for anyone who needs them. It will come fully into force by January 2023.

Councillor Alison Evison, president of umbrella body for councils COSLA, added: “Having recognised the impact lack of access to period products may have on individuals, Local Government has a longstanding commitment to provide free products both in education and community settings for those who may need them.

“As we look towards the implementation of the Period Products Act, I am delighted that work undertaken on period dignity both locally and nationally continues to progress and welcome the launch of the new app as a tool which can support this.”

Celia Hodson, founder and chief executive of Hey Girls and My Period, said: “This is a ground-breaking project for Scotland. For the first time, people across the country will be able to use an app to find and access free period products that they can walk or drive to easily.

“As a Scottish-based social enterprise whose core goal is to help eradicate period poverty, it was great to have our app idea adopted, part-funded and supported by the Scottish Government. PickupMyPeriod will act as a fantastic tool to raise awareness of period poverty and equality, as well as providing support to people who need a little extra support across Scotland.”