Time to put your best foot forward

Sharon Fox with a Gambian child

Sharon Fox with a Gambian child

Alan Cleaver reports on a simple way that you can help children this Christmas – and it will cost you almost nothing.

Your old shoes could give a child an education.

Egremont charity Siiboo has come up with an easy way for people to help children in Gambia: donating shoes, trainers, boots or sandals.

Amazingly, your simple gift will enable children in the African country to get an education – as well protecting their feet from the burning hot sand or cuts from stones or metal.

Children at many schools in Gambia are not allowed to go to school unless they have shoes on their feet. Providing children with footwear will enable them to receive a vital education.

Colin and Sharon Fox set up Siiboo after witnessing first hand the poverty in the country. They have a number of appeals running at the moment but the shoe appeal has proved one of the most popular.

Colin said: “The footwear can be anything at all – even slippers – as long as they have got some life left in them.

“The effect is absolutely colossal. Firstly they will be allowed to get an education, it gives the children freedom. By donating shoes, you can reduce a child’s risk of crippling parasitic diseases such as Podoconisis, Hookworm, Threadworm, tetanus, jiggers, snakebite, Madura foot, and many others that can significantly affect their life in a negative manner.”

Numerous collection points have been set up around West Cumbria including The Core in Egremont. Amazingly, Colin and Sharon have also arranged for unwanted hospital equipment in Cumbria to be transported out to Africa. North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust is giving to Siiboo 20 beds and mattresses, 21 wardrobes, 20 bedside cabinets, 20 therapy chairs, 50 visitor chairs and various other equipment. These are items that can no longer be used in UK hospitals but will be vital in Gambia.

Colin had linked up with the Friends of The Gambia Association (www.fotga.org.uk) including the building of the Bakindik Health Centre – the equipment being sent out will be well received by the project co-ordinators.

The work of Siiboo has meant Colin and Sharon continually increasing the size of the crate being taken by tanker to Gambia in the new year.

It’s not just shoes you can donate. They need money of course to help fund the whole operation – and volunteers to assist.

Copeland Borough Council have granted Siiboo a licence to hold a boot fair on the first Sunday of every month at Chapel Street car park in Egremont.

See siiboo.org.uk for details of other ways you can help.



26 Nelson Square CA22 2BE

By appointment. Call 07730568483

The Core (Old Methodist Hall), Main Street, Egremont.

Tuesday 3pm – 6.30pm

Wednesday 3pm – 7.30pm

Friday 3pm – 8pm

(Between 4pm & 6pm there is a class on so please leave any donations in the front entrance, thank you)


Cafe Hope, Hope Park, Lake Road, Keswick, CA12 5QE

Opening times – 10am – 5.30pm every day


Derwent Dental Care, 72 Kirkgate, CA13 9PH

Monday – Friday 9am to 5.30pm


Morrisons, Kingstown Road, Carlisle, CA3 0QZ

Monday 8am – 10pm

Tuesday 8am – 10pm

Wednesday 8am – 10pm

Thursday 8am – 10pm

Friday 8am – 10pm

Saturday 8am – 10pm

Sunday 10am – 4pm


Fresh Hair, 19a Horn Hill, Millom, LA18 5DP