Ferry Project in Wisbech launches 'Walk a Mile in Their Shoes' campaign to highlight domestic violence
A charity that helps homeless and vulnerable people has turned its attentions to a new challenge – supporting victims of domestic violence.
The Ferry Project in Wisbech wants to make a stand against domestic violence in Fenland and is organising a special fundraising event for April 6.
Called ‘Walk A Mile In Their Shoes’ it is a charity walk where men will wear women’s heeled shoes and women will dress in suits and a tie, with flat shoes.
Hazel Howell, the charity’s fundraising officer, said the aim is to raise awareness while at the same time raise money for an emergency fund to help those fleeing violence in their homes.
She said: “Nationally two women a week are killed as a result of domestic abuse. We want to change this and make a clear statement across Fenland that domestic violence is wrong.
“We want individuals, organisations and schools to make a stand against domestic violence in Fenland.
“We’re not just asking for money, we’re asking for participation in an awareness campaign and sponsored walk that could change the lives of those facing what seems like an impossible situation.
“We are aware that men can be victims of abuse too, which is why we have called it ‘Walk A Mile In Their Shoes’, rather than in her shoes, which is what it is called in America.”
The Ferry Project has been able to buy larger sized women’s shoes to loan out to men taking part, thanks to sponsorship.
Men wanting to join in don’t even face the pain of having to break the shoes in as staff at the Ferry Project are doing that ready for the big day.
Among those preparing the shoes is Ferry Project founder and director Keith Smith, who has been wearing the size 12s.
Hazel said: “I think Keith and the others feel a bit self-conscious about wearing women’s shoes, but they are doing a good job of making them comfortable for our walkers.
“This is a light-hearted way of addressing a very serious issue. We want to raise awareness of the fact, domestic violence, regardless of gender, is unacceptable.
“It is happening every day here in Fenland and it needs to stop. People who make the difficult and brave decision to flee often leave with nothing and have nowhere to go.
“We want to be able to offer those people help. With an emergency fund we can provide them with money to find somewhere to stay and to buy essentials. We want the walk to be a big event and we hope that people will get behind it and support us.”
The walk is a mile long and will be led by Keith in his high-heeled shoes.
The Ferry Project is asking people to register an interest and is hoping to drum up some more sponsorship and support from local businesses.
Hazel said: “There will be a registration fee of £10 and a pair of shoes/tie will be loaned for the duration of the walk.
“This fee will cover the administrative costs, so any further donations will go directly to supporting those fleeing domestic violence.
“We ask that participants do their best to raise £100 through the generosity of friends, family and colleagues.”
Donations of larger sized women’s shoes and ties are also welcome. If you can help or are interested in taking part contact the Ferry Project on 01945 429300.
A Virgin Money Giving campaign will be set up through the Ferry Project.
Hazel concluded: “The Ferry Project is part of the Luminus Group and we hope our walk will not only be fun but such a success the idea is taken up by other Luminus places and becomes a much bigger, national scheme.”