Caring soles were thanked for their generous donations to help homeless people over the winter months.

More than 500 pairs of shoes were donated to footwear retailer Charles Clinkard’s Middlesbrough store on Corporation Road as part of its shoe appeal.

The family-run company launched the campaign in December in partnership with Middlesbrough and Teesside Philanthropic Foundation and asked people to donate their unwanted shoes in exchange for a money off voucher.

Managing director Charles Clinkard said: “The Caring Soles shoe appeal was a huge success and we can’t thank our customers enough for supporting it.

“We were overwhelmed with the volume of donations we received, with customers even visiting our other stores across the region to donate their unwanted shoes.

“We can’t begin to imagine how difficult homelessness must be, especially during the winter months, and we hope the donations were able to make a difference.”

The shoe appeal coincided with the release of research that suggests that at least 320,000 people in Britain are homeless, which includes rough sleepers and people in temporary accommodation.

Despite the already high numbers, it’s thought this figure underestimates the crisis as it doesn’t capture ‘hidden homelessness’, such as those sleeping on sofas or insecurely in cars and sheds.

A team of staff from Charles Clinkard attended Middlesbrough Council’s ‘In out of the cold event’ last month and handed out more than 200 pairs of donated shoes to Teesside’s most needy.

After its success, the company is planning on running the shoe appeal bi-annually.

Andy Preston, founder and chairman of Teesside Charity, said: “With the support of generous Teessiders and local businesses, we are able to help our community all year-round through various fundraising activities and initiatives.

“The Caring Soles shoe appeal was a shining example of the public’s willingness to help people – this time, through a particularly difficult time of year – and we’re delighted to hear that Charles Clinkard is planning on continuing the appeal.”