Shoppers are putting their heart and ‘sole’ into supporting a shoe recycling scheme which raises money for global education programmes.
Around 4,000 pairs of unwanted shoes have been collected by the team at Clarks in Eagles Meadow Shopping Centre in Wrexham as part of the company’s ShoeSHARE scheme which raises funds for UNICEF.
The response from Wrexham customers has been so great that staff at the busy Eagles Meadow store are filling a large wheelie bin with donated shoes every fortnight.
The shoes, which should be paired, wearable and in reasonable condition, are collected and processed via a reuse company partner with any funds generated going directly to UNICEF which uses the cash to change children’s lives through its innovative ‘School in a Box’ scheme.
‘School in a Box’ transforms any space into a learning area, with enough resources to educate 40 children, allowing them the chance to learn no matter where they are or what disaster has struck them.
Some of the better quality shoe donations also make their way to West Africa where they help provide access to quality footwear at affordable prices.
Clarks Eagles Meadow manager Lynn Vallance says the scheme has proved a huge success in Wrexham and thanked shoppers for playing their part in raising vital UNICEF funds.
She said: “It’s an amazing scheme and we accept shoes of any brand just so long as they are paired, wearable and in reasonable condition.
“Our customers have and continue to do an amazing job bringing in their old shoes which go into the scheme.
“Clarks provide 450 drop off points for used shoes across the UK and certainly Clarks at Eagles Meadow has played a big part in this important scheme thanks to the donations of our amazing customers.”
ShoeSHARE was started by Clarks in 2008 and has raised around £1m to date for UNICEF.
Lynn said: “The money raised through ShoeSHARE pays for educational equipment such as the School in a Box scheme. It’s basically a box containing stationary and other classroom essentials as well as aids to support teachers with lessons.
“As long as shoes are wearable I’d encourage anyone to drop old shoes off at our shop and we will ensure they go into the ShoeSHARE scheme. It’s an amazing idea and really worthwhile. It has to be better than old shoes being dumped in landfill sites.”
She added: “Clarks frequently reviews the ShoeSHARE model to ensure it offers the best social and environmental option for used shoes whilst raising vital funds for UNICEF’s education programmes.”
Eagles Meadow manager, Kevin Critchley, said: “Recycling old shoes and ensuring children around the world benefit with better educational opportunities has to be better than simply throwing old shoes away.
“It’s wonderful to think that wheelie bins full of donated old shoes from Wrexham have gone to helping UNICEF carry out its important work in education around the world.”
He added: “I’d certainly encourage anyone who is shopping at Eagles Meadow that might have an old pair of shoes lying about at home that they are never going to wear again to bring them in and add them to the wheelie bin awaiting collection at Clarks.”
To find out more about ShoeSHARE and UNICEF please visit www.clarks.co.uk/information/unicef