Lepra is proud to announce that Stuart Paver, Managing Director of footwear retailer Pavers, has become an ambassador for the global charity Lepra.
Pavers were founded in 1971 as a family company and have grown to become one of the UK’s leading shoe retailers. Stuart has overseen the company expansion to include operations in Ireland, China and India as well as building its own shopping television channel. In 2018, The Pavers Foundation was launched with a £2.5m donation from the business currently owned by Stuart and his two brothers and the estate of Catherine Paver, their mother and founder of the company.
Pavers have worked in partnership with Lepra since 2015, when it helped the charity to launch an innovative “Shoe Van” project, providing bespoke footwear to people affected by leprosy and lymphatic filariasis (LF) in Bihar, India.
The shoes reduce the chance of injury and infections, which are a major cause of ulcers and amputations. Stuart has been a driving force for the project, visiting Bihar to see its work first hand and has been instrumental in helping to secure funding for a second van, which will join the project in June 2019 and a third before the end of 2019.
Speaking about his appointment, Stuart said:
“Having had the incredible privilege to see the great work Lepra does helping people with leprosy and other debilitating conditions, I am delighted to take on the role of Ambassador. On my visit to Bihar, it was amazing to see the impact of the mobile shoe van and I am keen to spread the word about this wonderful organisation and its invaluable work. “
Stuart will help to spread awareness about the project but also of leprosy, which affects seven million people worldwide, nearly half of whom remain undiagnosed. While leprosy is curable, if not treated early it can cause life-changing disabilities, particularly to hands and feet.
Many people affected also face prejudice and discrimination within their communities which can lead to mental health problems, difficulty accessing support and healthcare and even see them ostracised or shunned.
Lepra CEO, Geoff Prescott said:
“Stuart’s passion and commitment towards helping others is an example for all and we are proud that people affected by leprosy and LF will benefit from having him champion their cause and our work.”