In the UK, 4 million children are living in shoe poverty.This means that they are often wearing shoes that don’t fit properly or aren’t suitable for their needs. Through our existing community work we had many conversations with parents who struggle to provide school shoes for their children, with new shoes costing around £50 a pair in Clarks, and only lasting a few months as children often grow quickly. Despite this need, around 2 million shoes are sent to landfill every single week in the UK, with each pair taking 100 years to biodegrade.
In response, Oasis Hub Bath piloted a school shoes redistribution project for the first time in 2019. Through partnering with local schools, churches and community groups as well as the local media, we put out a call for donations of good quality second hand or new school news to redistribute to families in need rather than ending up in landfill.
We collected over 70 pairs of shoes which were cleaned, polished and prepared for redistribution by a group of volunteers. We partnered with three local schools to distribute vouchers to families that would benefit from receiving a pair of school shoes, then set up a school shoes stall at the summer fairs of each school. We managed to give away 52 pairs of shoes, and any shoes we had left at the end were given to a clothing project, meaning every pair of donated shoes reached a family in need.