A parent smiles at a young girl holding a pair of new white trainers

24th April 2024

Blue Soul Customs Donate Trainers to the SMILE project

There were smiles all round when Bournemouth tattoo shoe company, Blue Soul Customs, donated brand new trainers to children and teenagers at the SMILE Community Meal. Business owner Harrison Alcock explained:

“Years ago, I made a promise to give back to the community that shares my values if I succeeded in my business goals.

Coming from a single-parent household, I vividly recall not having the latest shoes, video games, or holiday experiences like many of my school friends did.”

Harrison from Blue Soul Customs high fives with a young boy from the SMILE Lone Parent Families project

Photo: a SMILE family member gives Harrison a high-five to say thank you for his new trainers.

The SMILE project provides support, activities and community to those navigating parenting alone.  Many of these couldn’t happen without the partnership of local organisations and businesses like Blue Soul Customs.

Harrison ran a raffle to raise the funds needed to pay for the quality trainers.  He then met with SMILE families at their fortnightly community meal at Parkstone United Reformed Church, where he spent time with the young people before presenting the brand new shoes to 11 children.

A young boy puts on new trainers while crouched on the floor

Photo: a SMILE family member with his new trainers.

“It was truly heartwarming to give back to families facing similar struggles I faced.

“I’m thankful that our brand’s social media community raised enough funds to provide all 11 children at the Faithworks event with brand-new, stylish trainers they can be proud of.”

Abi is a single Mum of three, all of whom have special educational needs:

“My youngest has never had a real pair of shoes before.  He’s so grateful that he’s got laced-up, big boy trainers.  It’s a really big deal.” 

Abi has found the SMILE group invaluable in providing a safe space for her and her young family.  Her children’s Special Educational Needs mean it has been difficult to find accessible groups, make friends and eat meals together.

Since coming to the SMILE groups, Abi has seen a marked change in her children.  All of them have grown in confidence, experience less anxiety and they are all forming friendships, some for the first time.

“It’s really hard to raise kids by yourself, let alone when they’ve got additional needs… It’s a real community here. I’ve never been a part of something like that ever.  To be included and a part of something I absolutely love it!
Harrison from Blue Soul Customs chats with Racheal from the SMILE Lone Parent Families project

Photo: Harrison from Blue Soul Customs and Racheal from the SMILE project.

Racheal Peck, SMILE Project Lead, explained how vital support of local businesses is:

“Many of the families we connect with are not only dealing with the challenges of parenting alone, they are also coping with many other complex issues.

To see the young people standing with confidence and proudly showing off their new shoes was so moving. This would not have happened without the support and very generous donation from Blue Soul Customs.”      

We love collaboration!  And we are proud to partner with many local businesses from supermarkets, bakeries and a local farm to name a few. Together we can be so much more effective as we walk alongside others as they journey out of crisis. You can find out more by reading how Morrisons, Blandford, have been supporting Nourish Community Larder and Food Bank in addressing period poverty in the local area.

Morrisons join Nourish to combat period poverty

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