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‘Kindness warriors’ aim to spread cheer from base at former Norwich shoe shop

PUBLISHED: 06:30 10 October 2015 | UPDATED: 11:52 10 October 2015

The Missing Shoe, Castle Meadow, Norwich that will open October10th from 10am to 4pm, inviting the general public to enjoy an array of kindness centred activities that will run throughout the day including hugs from bears. Chloe Swinton having a hug. Photo: Steve Adams

The Missing Shoe, Castle Meadow, Norwich that will open October10th from 10am to 4pm, inviting the general public to enjoy an array of kindness centred activities that will run throughout the day including hugs from bears. Chloe Swinton having a hug. Photo: Steve Adams

Copyright Archant Norfolk 2015

Life in one of the most beautiful parts of the country offers plenty to be happy about.

The Missing Shoe, Castle Meadow, Norwich that will open October10th from 10am to 4pm, inviting the general public to enjoy an array of kindness centred activities that will run throughout the day including hugs from bears. Photo: Steve AdamsThe Missing Shoe, Castle Meadow, Norwich that will open October10th from 10am to 4pm, inviting the general public to enjoy an array of kindness centred activities that will run throughout the day including hugs from bears. Photo: Steve Adams

But a band of self-described “kindness warriors” feel more could be done to spread cheer in Norfolk, and have set up a base in a former Norwich shoe shop.

The Missing Kind charity has more than 100 volunteers and they hope to brighten people’s lives with free hugs from a person in a bear suit, a cafe called the KindahappyKafe, social enterprise support and a wealth of other niceties at their Castle Meadow hub.

The centre in the former Ponds shoe shop, aptly re-named the Missing Shoe, has an event space, gallery, therapy rooms and an ethical shop among other areas.

It opens to the public from 10am today, and volunteers say they are determined to make Norwich the kindest city in the country. Charity founder Hugh Callacher, founder of the Missing Kind, made his money as an engineer and company director before turning to philanthropy.

The Missing Shoe, Castle Meadow, Norwich that will open October10th from 10am to 4pm, inviting the general public to enjoy an array of kindness centred activities that will run throughout the day including hugs from bears. Chloe Swinton having a hug. Photo: Steve AdamsThe Missing Shoe, Castle Meadow, Norwich that will open October10th from 10am to 4pm, inviting the general public to enjoy an array of kindness centred activities that will run throughout the day including hugs from bears. Chloe Swinton having a hug. Photo: Steve Adams

Mr Callacher, who has no family or children, said: “I realised I didn’t need a lot of the materialism I had.

“I thought ‘I need to make my life count for something’, so I wanted to put something back in.

“It’s quite easy to make money by working honestly, but it’s harder to give it away with purpose.”

He hoped to help as many people as possible and for the charity to be sustainable.

What’s on offer at the kindness hub?

The new Missing Shoe hub in Castle Meadow, Norwich, aims to help people with kindness.

It opens today, linking in with Social Saturday and World Mental Health Day, with doors open to the public from from 10am to 4pm.

Activities throughout the day will include:

interactive acts of kindness

spontaneous entertainment

kindness bear hugs

face painting

free mini massage

tea and cake in pop-up KindahappyKafe

the Missing Kind registered charity

volunteering opportunities

social enterprise support.

Formerly known as Ponds Shoe Shop and Café, the charity the Missing Kind acquired the grade two listed Georgian building at the end of 2014.

The space has since been renovated and redesigned as the Missing Shoe that houses the Missing Kind headquarters and social enterprise Kindahappy, which will support the charity in all its activities.

“Our aim is to make Norwich the kindest city, then roll it out,” he added.

Chloe Swinton, of the Missing Kind, said: “We’re a charity that supports kindness warriors, who make a difference with kindness to people, the planet and animals, not only in the UK but globally.

“They go out there and they take action with kindness.

“You just don’t know what’s

going on for people, and this

could give them hope for a better future.”

She described the Missing Shoe, which is sponsored by Diss-based Glazing Vision, as a “magnet for people who want some kindness”.

And with David Cameron’s Happiness Index, measuring the personal wellbeing of the nation,

still going strong, Norwich could soon be rising up the ranks.

For details about the charity, see www.missingkind.org or www.kindahappy.org


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