Help fill festive shoeboxes for victims of domestic abuse in Wokingham Borough


AN initiative to help victims of domestic abuse over the Christmas period has been launched in Wokingham.

Project Shoebox, in conjunction with Berkshire Women’s Aid (BWA), aims to provide victims and their families with a box of essentials, as well as a few luxury items, to make it through the festive period.

Initially started in Bromley by Kate Kenyon, last year the project became so popular that coordinated points around the UK delivered in excess of 2,000 boxes throughout women’s shelters and outreach programmes. Wokingham’s effort, organised by Vicky Kollnberger, managed to donate more than 250 boxes. This year, the project is looking to expand throughout the Thames Valley, helping victims of domestic abuse across Wokingham, Reading and beyond.

Vicky said: “Whilst I have been lucky enough not to have to use a women’s refuge myself, I was involved in a domestic violent relationship and understand the struggle and internal conflict that many of these women have been through. I wanted to be able to offer my support in a little way, and try and help make things a little more comfortable for these families over Christmas, help them realise that they are not alone and that there are people thinking of them.

“Last year, with just myself as the drop off and a few willing volunteers for packing, we collected, packed and delivered over 250 boxes around the Thames Valley. This year we have 20 drop off points, so I would love to be able to deliver over 500 boxes. So far we have received 30 completed boxes and around another 50 boxes worth of loose items that need to be boxed up and wrapped.”

Donations of unwanted or unneeded toiletries, such as sanitary items and toothbrushes, as well as items such as make-up and chocolates, will be greatly received until December 11. To find out more about how you can donate search for Project Shoebox – Thames Valley on Facebook, visit www.berkshirewomensaid.org.uk or contact Vicky on vickykollnberger@googlemail.com.


Really useful basics:

  • Shower gel
  • Soap
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Body Lotion
  • Deodorant
  • Hair brush/comb

Helpful, comforting things:

  • Face wash/toner/moisturiser
  • Make up remover
  • Sanitary products
  • Cosmetics – face, nails, makeup, fake tan, hair dye
  • Cotton wool, flannel
  • Hair products: spray, mousse and also hairbands or scrunchies

Just nice things to have:

  • Scarves, bits of jewellery
  • Socks, tights, slippers or flipflops
  • Sweets or Chocolate
  • A Christmas card – if people send in boxes with cards or messages, or if you want to include one

Teens: Girls and Boys
It’s often families in refuges, so we also collect for younger recipients, and including boys items such as men’s shower gel, deodorant, socks, hair gel, etc.

Having a baby is often a real trigger point for domestic abuse to get worse, so babies are often in need within refuges. Any of the following make great baby boxes:

  • Baby shampoo
  • Baby Lotion
  • Baby Oil
  • Nappy cream
  • Cotton wool
  • Wipes
  • Nappy bags
  • Clean, unused dummies
  • Anything helpful for a new mum: nipplecream, knickers, nursing pads, etc


  • Medicines, razors and sharp items.
  • Sweets and chocolates containing nuts.
  • Large toys or books. We can accept small toys and books that fit into a box, but the shelters just don’t have the space for larger items
  • Women’s clothes are also difficult to store and cater for all ages and size, so please no  clothes except scarves, hats, gloves, socks etc.

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