IT’S shocking enough to hear girls in developing countries miss school because they cannot afford proper sanitary protection.

But when she realised the problems were a little closer to home, Chelle McCann, from Brighton, decided to do something about it.

She had heard of the success of the Red Box Project, set up in Portsmouth last year to provide sanitary items to girls in schools, and decided to bring the initiative to Brighton.

With fellow mother Emma Legg, from Hove, she hopes to empower girls across the city during “that time of the month”.

Chelle, a lifestyle blogger and business owner, said: “When my eldest daughter, who is eight, came home from school and started asking questions about blood she had seen in the toilet, it struck me that so many little girls may be worried or embarrassed by something that happens completely naturally to their bodies.

“By not providing them with the right information and resources, we’re failing them.

“With the Red Box Project, we want to educate and empower young girls when it comes to their periods, not let it be a cause for concern.”

The Red Box Project provides girls with free sanitary towels and tampons to last the duration of their periods as well as free underwear for those who are caught out when their periods start.

Chelle also wants to provide the girls with heat pads to help them with discomfort, and information packs to explain the changes to their bodies.

The products will come in party bags, so girls can retrieve them discreetly from a trusted female member of staff at school.

It costs £30 to put a box of products in a school, and each box will need donations to keep it topped up.

A GoFundMe has been set up for monetary donations, while collection points, such as the Village Cafe and Bar in Islingword Road, Brighton, are being introduced so both staff and locals can donate cash or products.

Chelle said: “If we can teach our girls to track their period they will feel more in control.

“All we ask is if people are out buying a product for themselves, they pick up another to donate.

“Without people chipping in, it won’t work.”

The first Red Box project was set up in May last year in Portsmouth. It followed the publication of a newspaper story which revealed a police officer working at a school in Leeds had discovered a large number of female pupils were truanting during their periods because they were unable to buy sanitary products.

Chelle said: “There are a lot of families on the breadline in the city who rely on food banks.

“Sanitary items aren’t affordable for every family, but that shouldn’t come down to the children – they shouldn’t be missing school because of a period. Red Box Project is run by mums wanting to empower girls – it’s such an important message.”