The ShoeBox Project

20 November 2015
Kate Kenyon
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Doing some good at work

I started Project Shoebox three years ago to help women in a domestic violence refuge in my community in Bromley.  It’s since spread across the UK, and is a national effort to help domestic violence refuges from Orkney to Plymouth.

The refuges take in a lot of women and children at Christmas, sadly, and many of the women there turn up with nothing more than what they are wearing.

Refuges get toys donated as gifts for children staying with them, but the women themselves are forgotten. This project attempts to bring them a bit of kindness and some practical help.

We do this by taking all the unwanted toiletries and cosmetics everyone has (think of those 2for1s, nice-but-not-your-thing presents, miniatures from hotels, etc) to make a shoebox of goodies to give as a gift. If people don't have enough for a shoebox, a little gift bag is also great - there are teenagers in refuge who also get forgotten and these work well for them.

ShoeBox Metro
Metro UK 

Bringing this to Cognifide

This has always been a side project for me, away from my work as Principal for Content at Cognifide. But this year, as the project grew rapidly into a nationwide community, I had to ask my colleagues for help to deliver it – there’s only so much you can do alone.

It’s a little strange to talk about both women toiletries and domestic violence to the male-dominated world of tech, but I could not be prouder of the brilliant, kind response I’ve had from my Cognifide colleagues. 

I’ve had smart insight about planning, support with press enquiries, and mountains of toothpaste and soap mysteriously appearing on my desk!

They also pack a really good box – this is from the TV crew who came to film about the Project, and watch the speed with which those boxes get made.

Thank you Cognifolks, both from me and from families who will benefit from your kindness.