Good news! Footscape is celebrating 50,000 podiatry material aid items having been distributed to people experiencing disadvantage. That is quite a milestone to share with our STRIDE readers, who have supported us by following our adventures. 

Since 2013 our charity has been providing footwear, socks, foot care kits and orthotic devices to identified homeless persons, asylum seekers, Aboriginal persons, financially disadvantaged children and victims of domestic violence at over sixty affiliate organisations. The Melbourne-based Cohealth Podiatry homeless service was the first project affiliate organisation to receive our material aid items to benefit their patients. 

Cohealth Podiatrist Rebecca Mannix has highlighted the value of Footscape contributions to their service:

People that are homeless use their feet as their primary mode of transport – to get food, attend appointments, for exercise to reduce stress or even to keep warm when it’s cold. It’s not uncommon for clients to report walking 10 to 15 kilometres every day, which can put stress on their bodies, especially if carrying all of their possessions. Often our clients report their shoes getting stolen when they are asleep, so many wear their shoes all night, which can lead to bacterial infections – particularly if feet are wet. Footscape’s generous provision of high-quality second-hand shoes has greatly improved our ability to support these clients as they work to achieve their goals. For many clients this reduces their pain levels greatly and they are able to get back into walking. Others join our football team (Cohealth Kangaroos) and use the runners for training – improving their health, self-esteem, building healthy friendships and learning skills such as anger management and working as a team. Without Footscape this would be impossible, and we are extremely grateful, as are our clients. 

Marjan dropping off footwear

 

You can read more about Cohealth in the April issue of STRIDE here

During the past twelve months, ten additional health and welfare organisations have requested and received Footscape items on behalf of patients and/or clients experiencing disadvantage. These organisations include: 

      1. Fitted For Work – a Melbourne charity helping women experiencing disadvantage get work, keep work and navigate through working life with success. Their goal is to provide women with practical skills, knowledge, self-esteem and know-how so that they can move forward with confidence in the workplace. Footscape has been donating new footwear as part of the Fitted For Work clothing program.
        ..
      2. Wuchopperen Health Service –  an Aboriginal health organisation providing comprehensive primary health care services to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of Cairns. The podiatry team are utilising Footscape material aid to promote diabetic foot health amongst patients.

 

As a podiatry charity with finite resources, Footscape recognises the importance of collaboration in our strategic plan. Collaboration is a process described by Taylor et al (2021) through which organisations who have different perspectives about an issue, or who can address different aspects of it, can constructively search for solutions together. The solutions will go beyond one partner’s own limited vision of what is possible and intervene more than their own scope of practice. 

Collaboration with like-minded health and welfare organisations has allowed Footscape the opportunity to reach and assist thousands of disadvantaged persons across Australia encountering foot pathology. Accordingly, podiatrists working with disadvantaged communities in the far corners of our country are strongly encouraged to reach out to Footscape and benefit from prompt access to material aid items to help their clients. 

References:
Taylor, J., O’Hara, L., Talbot L., Verrinder, G. (2021) ‘Promoting Health: The Primary Health Care Approach 7th Edition’ Elsevier, Chatswood 
 

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