Around 150 children in the north-east have benefitted from a campaign aimed at providing them with new shoes.
Local charity Abernecessities launched a drive earlier this year, supported by children’s footwear specialists Bob and Lulu and Street Stompers, to provide the region’s most deprived youngsters with footwear.
Around £1,500 has been raised for the Every Child Deserves One Pair of Shoes initiative.
And shoe firm Start Rite has also donated 50 pairs of new footwear to the cause – 25 each for girls and boys.
Abernecessities chief operating officer Michelle Herd said: “We are just overwhelmed by the support of local people going in and donating at both the shops.
“It’s made a huge difference to the charity and families across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire. We have been able to buy around 150 pairs of shoes for children who really need them.
“A lot of kids we deal with have had shoes passed down from older siblings, which isn’t good, or have never had their feet properly measured.
“It’s such a big problem across the north-east. The level of need really is heartbreaking.
“Aberdeen is still thought of as quite an affluent place but the level of deprivation is quite horrific.”
Over the course of the campaign, which aimed to give children at least one pair of shoes in time for the new school term beginning last month, Bob and Lulu raised more than £1,000.
Street Stompers pulled in around £200 of donations and has vowed to match the funds raised.
Bob and Lulu owner Lisa Durward said: “I was aware there was some demand from parents who couldn’t afford to buy shoes for their children.
“Shoes, but particularly children’s footwear, are so well-worn that they can’t really be passed down to younger ones.
“That means the demand is really quite high.
“That started a conversation between ourselves and the charity about how we could get children a new pair of shoes for going back to school.
“Whenever someone came in to buy shoes, we told them about the campaign and asked them whether they would like to make a donation.
“The response was amazing. We had people whose children were past the point of going to school but because they had been customers in the past, they still wanted to get involved.”
She added: “Sadly, it’s a very real story that some families just aren’t able to buy shoes for the children and we wanted to do something to help them.
“It has been absolutely fantastic to be able to help Abernecessities.
“They are a fantastic local charity who do so much good work in the area.”
Street Stompers managing director Graeme McKenzie added: “When we were approached by Lisa I thought it was a great idea.
“Abernecessities is a great local charity which really makes you aware there are people in Aberdeen who do need some help.
“Our staff and customers really liked it and helped out a lot by donating. It’s nice to be able to support a local organisation.
“As well as customer donations, we have matched the amount so we will be giving Abernecessities more than £400.
“It’s important because you don’t think of there being people in that position where they can’t afford to put shoes on their children’s feet, but that’s the reality for some families.
“We want to do as much as we can to help them and we would be really keen to do something similar in the future.”