A Nottingham organisation which distributes donated shoes to people in need across the world is set for a busy year as it launches an Awareness Programme for 2015.
Lee Todd set up Shoe Aid UK in 2010 after one snapshot from the Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004 could not be erased from his memory.
Watching his TV, Lee saw the image of a single shoe washed up amidst the debris and from that point he set himself a task – to take donated shoes and put them on the feet of those in most need.
After a spot of research, Lee found the figures shocking: one billion people in the world are without shoes, of which 300 million are children and 70 million of those are denied education because shoes are part of school uniform.
Lee, who had previously worked in the shoe industry, gained support from the National Police Aid Convoy (NPAC) with distributing the shoes to people in the UK and worldwide.
4,000 Shoes donated
The NPAC, who deliver aid around the world, commenced their work in 1993 when a group of police officers sought to deliver huge amounts of humanitarian aid to refugee camps in Yugoslavia.
According to research carried out by Shoe Aid, two million pairs of shoes go to UK landfill sites every week, but this footwear could make such a difference for some people around people.
To date, 40,000 pairs of shoes have been distributed by the organisation.
Slideshow: Shoe Aid making a difference in Haiti
Shoe Aid have now launched a full Awareness Programme for 2015 – which includes the latest edition of their popular barefoot charity walk at Wollaton Park on Sunday 6 September.
The barefoot walk was launched in 2012 to raise the profile of Shoe Aid, and although it started with a few dozen people raising a small amount for charity, it has grown massively.
In 2014, more than 3000 visitors enjoyed the family fun day, which not only featured the barefoot walk, but a host of stalls selling food, drink and crafts as well as live music and entertainment.
As part of the year’s programme, a number of shoe drives have already taken place across schools in Nottinghamshire and there are plans for a summer ball, charity auction and even a sports day.
Sarah Kearsley, operations manager at Shoe Aid, said: “This year is, so far, proving to be full of many incredibly exciting opportunities and as a self-funded organisation we are incorporating a range of fundraising activities within this year’s programme, to ensure we can respond to all the offers of help and cover the operational costs involved with collecting and distributing donated shoes.”
There are a number of ways to support Shoe Aid and more information can be found at www.shoeaid.com.