An important part of celebrating our 230th birthday year has been donating new shoes to two important charities, to enable a great many more children to benefit from wearing Start-Rite shoes. We wanted to take the opportunity to share the experience as we have been so touched by the feedback.
To date, we have donated 287 pairs of shoes to the NSPCC who split the shoes between their centres in Plymouth and Grimsby, which serve some of the communities living in the top one percent of deprivation in the UK. The centres took the shoes to local schools with families in urgent need of support. We have also donated two boxes filled with shoes to children attending the Memusi Schools in Kenya.
The shoes gifted to the NSPCC, the UK’s leading children’s charity, were donated as part of an informal coffee morning and a parent drop-in activity. A member of the NSPCC team at one venue who is trained in measuring feet, made sure each child was matched with the right sized footwear. Some of the children found it hard to comprehend that the shoes were for them to keep and apparently were more interested in the bright array of new shoes than the chocolate raffle next door!
The shoes were donated to children at pre-school age and older. We know that providing shoes will support these little ones’ physical, emotional and social development and ease some of the financial pressure felt by their parents. We are thrilled to have been able to help them, facilitated by the NSPCC. We received this wonderful feedback from Lisa Smith, Strategic Service Manager at NSPCC Grimsby Together for Childhood Centre, which means a great deal to the whole team at Start-Rite:
“Whether it be financial, food, shelter, fuel or clothing, children and families across the UK are being overloaded with worries about basic security. Start-Rite’s shoe donations to our Together For Childhood centres have alleviated some of this worry for parents in Plymouth and Grimsby. No child should have to go to school in wellies or unsuitable footwear, but our current system sadly can’t support everyone who needs it, so we’re all playing our part. Thank you to team Start-Rite for playing yours by helping more children go to school in brand new, excellent quality shoes.”
This donation is part of our longer-term partnership with the NSPCC that sees our colleagues supporting NSPCC initiatives throughout the year, fundraising and an exclusive collection of shoes that directly support the charity’s vital work and services with every sale.
A Start-Rite colleague also connected us to a charity supporting the Memusi Schools in Kenya. Their story is very different to the schools in the UK, but the need and effect new shoes have on children in Kenya is the same.
In Kenya, the children of all ages walk for many hours to get to and from school each day, many barefoot through thorns that are common to the area. The charity tells us that of the children who have shoes, many are wearing worn adult shoes that are not suitable to protect them, will distract them and can also make them feel sore and unhappy during the school day.
We have proudly sent two large boxes full of shoes, that will be received by the school in Kenya in October. We are excited to hear how they are received by the children.
We are all so very proud to be able to help these children in desperate need because we know our shoes will have a meaningful effect on the little ones who receive them.
Please seek out our independent retailers who participate in the Shoe Aid scheme and donate your outgrown Start-Rite shoes. If they are not fit for another pair of feet, then the materials will be recycled appropriately. Please never put your worn shoes into landfill and please support us in enabling more children to benefit from wearing Start-Rite shoes.