EMPLOYEES at a Northumberland branch of Proctor and Gamble have donated their shoes as part of a nation drive to help prevent a disease.
Hundreds of pairs of shoes have been donated by North East P&G employees – including those at Seaton Delaval, Cobalt Business Park, and Longbenton – to be sent to those in need.
P&G employee Paul Matts helped to start the Ethiopian non-governmental organisation APA (Action on Podoconiosis Association) www.actiononpodo.com as part of a concerted effort to tackle the disease.
Podoconiosis is a devastating, disfiguring disease which causes gross deformity of the lower legs and feet, with victims often ostracised from society – unable to attend school or earn a living.
It is a non-infectious disease that occurs when bare feet are exposed to particular soil types. People who work barefoot in fields are vulnerable, particularly on red clay soils in volcanic areas.
P&G employees at its three north east sites – Seaton Delaval, Cobalt Business Park, and Longbenton – have cleared out cupboards and collected over 300 pairs of shoes, from Caterpillar walking boots to Converse trainers.
Val Burt, from the Community Matters team, said: “We have filled a room full of shoes that employees have brought in.
“It’s humbling to think that a spare pair of shoes, which means nothing to us, will save these people’s lives.
“Projects like these make me feel like our Community Matters Programme has a real impact.”
P&G employees from the north east offices as well as colleagues based in south east England, have collected 1,000 pairs of shoes in total.
One large shipment of these shoes will be sent to the upland regions of Southern Ethiopia where they will be distributed from the six new APA treatment sites and used to protect bare feet vulnerable to Podoconiosis.