POLICE officers have been collecting boots from their colleagues to donate to the homeless in Birkenhead.

Merseyside's British Transport Police began the appeal in November after PC Leah Davin and PCSO Rachel Corbett visited Wirral Ark to see how they could support the Arklight Community Night Shelter and Wirral's rough sleepers.

PCSO Corbett told the Globe: "After visiting the centre, PC Davin and I left feeling very reflective.

"We deal with the homeless on a daily basis and it is important to us, that we build up a good rapport.

"We were both shocked to hear about how much the homeless suffered with their feet during the winter, clean, dry, warm shoes is something which we probably all take for granted.

"Being in the police, we’re on our feet often for long hours, therefore comfortable, warm and dry boots are a must.

"PC Davin came up with the idea that we could ask colleagues and friends on the railway to donate old boots.

"We passed out posters and sent some emails to colleagues and visited staff across the network telling them of our good cause.

"It was really humbling to see how many shoes and boots were donated in just a couple of weeks and I think I can speak on behalf of PC Davin when I say it left us both feeling really humble, that we could do something to help.”

Earlier this week, PS Owens, PC Davin and PCSO Corbett delivered the donations of boots to Wirral Ark's hostel this week.

The boots will be distributed to rough sleepers with a new pair of socks to promote better foot health and to provide temporary relief.

Wirral Ark’s business development manager Jackie Snell said: "Foot problems are common amongst homeless people but are often overlooked.

"As you can imagine, walking around in harsh winter conditions has a terrible impact on homeless people’s health, including their feet. Inadequate footcare and ill-fitting shoes can cause wounds, blisters and sores and other skin infections which are made 10 times worse by walking in wet and cold weather and poor living conditions.

"While we provide a nurse clinic for rough sleepers to access health care it is challenging to treat people when they have chaotic lifestyles and do not return for treatment.

"We’re really grateful to BTP for running this campaign for us, we always advise the public to ask us first how they can help and this is a perfect example of how people can use the resources available to them to help fight homelessness."

For more information of how you can get involved with the Arklight Community Night Shelter please contact Jackie or Hannah on 0151 652 7317 or email businessdevelopment@wirralark.org.uk