Stoke-on-Trent man restores old trainers for city's homeless

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image copyrightLance Birchall
image captionWhile some shoes may not be able to be resold, Lance Birchall said they could still be useful to others

A man is giving unwanted trainers a new lease of life and donating them to people in need.

Lance Birchall, from Stoke-on-Trent, restores unloved trainers but said some were still being needlessly binned.

He decided to take on pairs for free rather than seeing them thrown away and will donate them to homeless people in the city.

"I can do absolutely any trainer," he said. "It will help people who don't have anything."

The 25-year-old said he had always collected trainers and set up a business restoring older shoes to their original condition.

image copyrightLance Birchall
image captionMr Birchall started the scheme in January after seeing trainers go to waste needlessly

"I start off with a dry clean, going over them with a brush, followed by a deep clean and a steam," he said, adding the process is repeated until they look "as good as new".

After setting up his business, he said he got messages from people saying they were just going to throw their shoes away if nothing could be done to repair them.

"There are some pairs you can't get up to a sellable standard," Mr Birchall said. "So I thought, if people are chucking all these trainers in the bin, I can take them in, do the best job I can and then give them to the hostels around Stoke.

"I want to use my skills to help people that are less fortunate and give something back to the people."

media captionKiller Kicks: the secret in your sneakers

He set up a GoFundMe page for donations to pay for the restorations with any additional money going towards other essentials for Stoke-on-Trent's homeless community, such as meals and sleeping bags.

Since setting up the scheme, which he called Soles of Stoke, at the start of the year, Mr Birchall has been sent about 50 pairs of shoes that would otherwise be destined for landfill.

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