A GROUP determined to end period poverty in west Dorset has welcomed the news girls in primary schools will receive free sanitary products from early next year.

Free sanitary products will be offered to girls in all primary schools in England from early 2020, the Government has announced.

The move comes after last month's announcement that the products would be made available in secondary schools, which was criticised for not going far enough.

But on Tuesday children and families minister Nadhim Zahawi confirmed the scheme, fully funded by the Department for Education, will be extended to include younger schoolgirls.

Red Box Project Bridport, a community-based, not-for-profit initiative, supports young women and girls all over west Dorset by providing red boxes filled with free sanitary products to local schools.

It welcomes the news, but insists its work will continue.

Spokesman Mickey Bonome said: "We would like to assure people that our work will continue until we are satisfied with what the Government offers and there after, however the governments plan will leave a massive gap. Children and women will still need provisions if they are in alternative educational settings, homes, care, refuges etc. At the moment, we are concentrating on continuing our supplies and support going into the schools and youth centres that we cover, and getting further out into primary schools and more youth clubs and community groups until the promise from the government for 2020 is in place.

"After that, the Red Box Project will come to a close as we know it, but we are looking into ways of continuing ways to reach others that won't benefit.

"It is really important to both Cerri and myself to say 'thanks' to the community for all their support and help in raising the issue and contributing to the governments promise. It is as much their victory to celebrate as it is ours - but still much work needs to be done to stop period poverty for all who need it."

Waitrose is collecting green tokens for the Red Box Project Bridport and money raised will help the group continue its work until new plans are in place.