Footwear Friends

Footwear Friends, formerly the Footwear Benevolent Society, is a charity which provides financial assistance to people who work or have worked in the Shoe Trade (normally for at least five years) but have fallen on hard times. Established in 1836, we are the only charity dedicated solely to the support of those who have served the footwear industry, whether in design, manufacture, distribution, retail or repair.

We may make cash grants to meet exceptional needs such as appliances, disability equipment or essential repairs. We may also offer on going support to people who cannot get all the help they need from statutory support.

The financial support we offer includes:

  • 6-monthly grants
  • Mid-Year and Christmas grants
  • One off grants
  • Convalescent Holiday Grants


Last updated on 9 June 2022

Who is eligible?

People who have worked or are working in the footwear industry (normally for at least five years), whether in design, manufacture, distribution, retail or repair or apparel trades - and their spouses and dependents.

The charity does not give grants for:

  • Private school fees
  • Business debts
  • University tuition fees or private education costs

It is unlikely that applicants who have been in the footwear industry for less than 12 months will receive a grant, but occasionally applicants are considered if there are exceptional circumstances. 

How to apply?

You can download an application form from Footwear Friends' website or apply online

We do accept applications from individuals but these must be verified by an independent witness.

Applications are considered all year round.

Footwear Friends receives hundreds of requests for help on behalf of people connected to the shoe trade every year. If your application is unsuccessful, the charity will tell you.

These are usually referred to us by local agencies with close knowledge of the special problems of the individuals concerned. Problems arising from long term assistance or disability receive special attention and equally the aged and families with young children.

Every application we receive will be considered by the Executive Committee, whose members decide what help the Society can offer to the applicant.

Other information

Applicants need to show proof of employment within the footwear sector, or complete a HMRC form in order for the Charity to obtain this information. HMRC searches can be lengthy and it might take several months before the information is received. Applicants will need to be aware that they have to wait for the outcome of this search before the Trustees can make a decision.

Contact details

Footwear Friends
PO Box 77403
Telephone: 07999 126572

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