Walk With Us trustee Annie Marie Teece, left, and Big Brothers Big Sisters programme director Chelsea Routhan with some of the shoes that are being donated to children in the youth mentoring programme in Nelson and Tasman. Photo: Simon Bloomberg

Charities helping children walk the walk

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Two Nelson charities, Big Brothers Big Sisters and Walk With Us have cobbled together a partnership to help keep vulnerable children active in the outdoors.

Big Brothers Big Sisters is a youth mentoring programme that matches adult mentors with vulnerable children and young people aged between six and 18. It started in Nelson in 1998 and this year has almost 200 “matches”, making it the country’s biggest Big Brothers Big Sisters.

However, Nelson programme director Chelsea Routhan says one of the problems is that some of the children can’t afford shoes needed to enjoy outdoor excursions with their mentors. Now, she says that problem has been solved after last year teaming up with Walk With Us, which provides shoes for children from families in-need.

“We have partnerships with about a dozen other groups like Walk With Us and it really helps us out,” Chelsea says. “There are a large number of families with financial difficulties so it’s nice having Walk With Us providing free shoes for our children.

Walk With Us trustee Anne-Marie Teece says they are delighted to be able to help Big Brothers Big Sisters. She says one of their trustees Carol Shirley is a mentor for Big Brothers Big Sisters and “they are such a great cause”.

Walk with Us was formed in 2013 and has so far provided 290 free pairs of school and sports shoes for children, aged between five and 13, from families in-need. The trust is run by volunteers and is planning its next fund-raiser on September 14.

Stirling Sports, Smiths Shoes, Number One Shoes and Whitwells in Motueka provides discounted shoes for the trust.