THE regular reports we receive at the Yes DIY Hub show that activists across the country are not just sitting twiddling their thumbs waiting on the “go” for the second referendum.

Cultural and political events and protests are being organised by pro-indy groups across the movement and these all help to keep groups and individuals working together for various causes that don’t at first glance seem connected to Scottish independence per se.

One of the best innovations by a Yes group that we have heard of is the “Purple Box” campaign which has been launched to provide free sanitary products for women in Midlothian. It’s the brainchild of Women for Independence (WFI) Midlothian who have launched the campaign to support local women and girls affected by period poverty.

Purple boxes filled with free sanitary products are being placed in libraries and other locations – the first boxes are now available in Dalkeith and Newtongrange libraries and more locations will follow very soon.

WFI Midlothian told us: “Our motto is ‘If you need it, take it – if you can spare it, donate it.’”

The national WFI organisation carried out research in 2017 which showed that 22 per cent of women in Scotland have found themselves unable to afford basic sanitary protection. This can result in them using newspapers and cloth rags during their periods, and there can be health issues or impacts to work and schooling.

Austerity, benefits sanctions, illness and precarious employment contracts are just some of the reasons that women might not be able to afford the monthly expense of sanitary products.

From August 2018, the Scottish Government will provide free sanitary products in schools but WFI Midlothian decided to do something now. They say: “If you would like to help local women, you can donate towels, tampons and other sanitary products using the purple boxes. This campaign receives no external funding and will rely on the generosity and solidarity of people in Midlothian to make it work.

“Please search for Purple Box Midlothian for a web page containing up to date information and locations.”

The group added: “WFI Midlothian were supportive of the council motion raised last year by SNP councillors to provide sanitary products in Midlothian schools and council buildings. We were very disappointed to see this motion rejected by the administration.

“It was cited in the debate by one of the male councillors that ‘no girl had missed any schooling in Midlothian due to lack of access to sanitary products.’ The failure by some councillors to understand the issues being faced by women every month galvanised WFI Midlothian into launching this campaign. “