How Russell Howard show inspired football-mad Bramford man's project

Mr Miller was inspired to help people when he saw a similar project showcased on tv

Mr Miller was inspired to help people when he saw a similar project showcased on tv - Credit: Ed Miller

A chance viewing of a TV show has helped inspire a Bramford man to help footballers in his community.

Ed Miller, from Bramford, is founder of Ipswich Community Bootroom, a project which helps people get boots to play football with. 

People donate their old boots and he then sends them out to the adults and children who need them. 

Mr Miller has cerebral palsy and has been playing football for the past 15 years with various specialist groups.  

Mr Miller set up the project in 2019

Mr Miller set up the project in 2019 - Credit: Ed Miller

Since then he has moved into coaching to help youngsters. He currently works with youngsters at Claydon FC. 

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Mr Miller understands the costs associated with football and how that can be difficult for parents and players alike. 

"I've only worked for a short while so I've always been on disability benefit," he said. 

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"Being a goalkeeper you are trying to keep up with buying gloves and boots every year and that was hard. 

"My step daughter started doing football and finding her boots was hard." 

It was a chance viewing of comedian Russell Howard's show Russell Howard's Good News that inspired Mr Miller to start his project. 

"I was watching Russell Howard's Good News one night and he had Carl Bradley on there who started this idea in Swansea and I thought 'that's a brilliant idea'," he said. 

Mr Bradley had set up the project in 2019 and had great success helping families in his local area. 

Mr Miller got in touch with him about the project and was able to set up his own Suffolk-based bootroom. 

"I thought I will get them all donated to me and I can get them redistributed in the community," he said. 

"We wouldn't be wasting good quality boots and we can help people who aren't as fortunate to get boots and get into football." 

He has so far received 100 donations and wants to help more families

He has so far received 100 donations and wants to help more families - Credit: Ed Miller

During lockdown he started to collect pairs of shoes which he would then clean and fix as necessary to make them ready to be sent out again. 

"I thought well it's something I can do during lockdown to keep me active," he said.

"I've had 100 boots so far. Some people have given me five or six pairs of boots at a time because they have a couple of children who have gone through them." 

Those 100 boots have so far been reunited with 10 new owners and Mr Miller hopes to be able to keep going. 

Once he has sent out the boots, Mr Miller shares pictures of their new owners, to show the difference they are making.  

"They are always really grateful that they have got them," he said.

Mr Miller has gone the extra mile to help local families in need, even driving out to Colchester to make sure that the boots made it to their new homes. 

"A lady contacted me because she wanted four pairs of boots for four children," he said. 

"As it happened I had time at the weekend and I could drop them off.

"She was absolutely over the moon that all her kids can now go and enjoy playing football with their boots." 

Seeing the reactions of those he helps makes it all the worth while for Mr Miller. 

"It is good," he said. 

"You are helping people. I know how people feel in that situation. I've been there.

"I still find it difficult now to find myself boots, especially because of my disability. I will go through them in six months."

It's Mr Miller's passion for his sport that keeps him motivated. 

"I do it because I love football," he said.

"It's amazing. It's the whole community feel I get from it. 

"On the pitch you are all there for the same thing. 

"I enjoy the competition and the playing of it but I enjoy the social aspect more."

For now, Mr Miller has plenty more boots looking for new homes. 

"At the moment I have quite a lot of boots sitting on my shelves," he said. 

Anyone wanting to help the Ipswich Boot Room Project or looking for boots  themselves can do so by visiting the Facebook page.

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