A pioneering Nottingham charity giving free shoes to those in need is taking the idea nationwide.
The founder of Shoe Aid, Lee Todd, says he is determined to provide every child and homeless person in the city with a free pair of shoes.
Mr Todd set the organisation up in 2010 after he was shocked by increasing poverty figures suggesting there are around one billion people without shoes worldwide, of whom 300 million are children.
UAccording to the Rise Park charity’s research, up to two million pairs of shoes end up in UK landfill sites every week.
And Mr Todd says the footwear people throw away could make a real difference to people in Nottingham.
He says: “We don’t ask for money, we ask for people to donate something which we all have at home.
“I like to think of myself as the Robin Hood of footwear, taking shoes from people that can afford them and giving to those who can’t.”
Research conducted by the footwear retailer Clarks, has also shown four million children in the UK are wearing shoes that don’t fit them properly.
As well as working with schools across Nottinghamshire to tackle the problem, Shoe Aid will also be working with city homelessness support charity Framework to distribute shoes to homeless people.
Shoe Aid is currently in the process of setting up an order system so people in need will be able to fill in a form with the correct size and fit of the shoe they want.
“There are currently 64 people sleeping rough on the streets of Nottingham,” Mr Todd added.
“Heading towards winter, the weather gives way to a whole host of problems for these people -blisters, chill blains and cases of trench foot.”
He says: “By December we want to make sure every one of those has been given a warm, comfortable and suitable pair of shoes.”
To date, Shoe Aid has donated half a million shoes to third world countries, and 10,000 to homeless people.
Mr Todd now has plans to roll out the scheme nationwide and is currently in talks with supermarket giant Tesco to launch an appeal for donations.
He said: “Collection boxes at as many large supermarkets as possible will be a great help and definitely make it far easier for people to donate.
“Our long-term aim is to provide the four million deprived children and 250,000 homeless in the UK with a pair of shoes.”
To donate or for more information visit the Shoe Aid website.