It’s a movement that has been sweeping the country. Now, Victoria council has made a small decision that will make a huge impact for those in need of basic hygiene products.

Beginning this year, free menstrual products such as tampons and pads will be available in various city facilities, including city hall, Crystal Pool and Fitness Centre, and in downtown public washrooms.

The United Way Period Promise campaign illuminates the challenges many people face in accessing these basic items.

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps says Victoria is the first in B.C. to make the United Way Period Promise.

“We know that not having access to menstrual products when you need them can be a risk to people’s health and socially isolating,” said Helps.

“Providing free menstrual products in city facilities is a small, practical thing we can do that will make a big difference in the lives of many people in our community.”

According to a recent study by Plan International Canada, one-third of women under 25 struggle to afford hygiene products.

The number applies to those dealing with homelessness, as well as students and families with low incomes.

“We’ll have ones here in city hall that are just racks that you can choose your menstrual products," Victoria city councillor Laurel Collins said Monday.

Greater Victoria United Way CEO Mark Breslauer says Victoria's decision will provide more than just accessible products to those in need.

“Monthly menstruation products are a necessity, but if you’re living in poverty – or vulnerable in other ways – access to menstrual products can be challenging,” said Breslauer.

“We thank the City of Victoria for joining the Period Promise movement and breaking down barriers by providing access to free products in their facilities.”

In April, the B.C. government announced that all public schools will be required to provide free menstrual products for students in school washrooms by the end of the year.

Community members can participate in the United Way program by donating money or products such as tampons, pads, cups or menstrual underwear at the campaign's website.