“You have shown that there
are good people out there”

Jasdeep, Exeter

The charity for the footwear trade

The Footwear Industry Trust has been helping those in need in the footwear community since 1836 and today our pledge is as relevant as ever. With the cost of living crisis, job insecurity and mental health issues on the rise we passionately believe there has never been a more important time for the work we do.
Years since establishment
Grants awarded last year
More than £1 million distributed since 2015
Weeks from application to receiving the grant (where criteria were met and approved)


On May 17th 1836, five gentlemen - Mr. H. Bonham, Mr R. Cole, J.W. Barrier, Henry Reeve and Joseph Johnson met in Mr Bonham's office at 15 Gerrard Street, Soho, for the purpose of forming a Benevolent Society of Master Boot and Shoemakers. King William IV was on the throne and it was another year before the young Princess Victoria would usher in the Victorian era.

Thereafter meetings were held at frequent intervals, mostly in the evening and a popular venue was the The Mitre Tavern in St. Martin's Lane. New members were soon enlisted and a booklet of rules and regulations was drawn up. The society was formed for the purpose of affording relief by way of annuity to aged and decayed members, their widows and orphans. Male candidates would receive £30 annually, females £20 and orphans £20 until they attained their 14 birthday. By 1850 there were ten annuitants including two widows.

Annual dinners were, from the beginning, a fundraising favourite with the earliest example taking place on April 28th 1837 at the Crown & Anchor Tavern in the Strand. Annual dinners continued for over a hundred years, usually with a local or national luminary presiding.

In recent years a more diverse range of fundraising activities have been tried including sponsored marathon walks, charity shows, staged with some pomp in West End theatres including the Shaftsbury and the Palace and, since 1946, the National Golf Championship of the Shoe, Leather and Allied trades.

Today, under the new name of The Footwear Industry Trust (FIT), this inventiveness and passion for raising money to help those in our industry who have fallen on hard times is as active as it ever was. Thanks to the efforts of board members, secretaries, patrons and generous members of the footwear community FIT income has risen almost every year since it was first created by Mr. Bonham and co in that small office on Gerrard street over 185 years ago.

Executive Committee

David Lockyer
President & Chairman
Malcom Collins
Honorary Treasury


Tim Cooper
Dan Gyves
Harvey Jacobson
Mark Jeffery
Peter Lamble
Justin Morgan
Susan O'Hare
Sharon Reason
Lucy Reece-Raybould
Mike Watson-Smith

Become a corporate sponsor

The Footwear Industry Trust is all about building connections within the business we all call ‘The Trade’. By becoming a partner of our charity, your business can play an active rôle in giving back to the people who work hard to make the Great British Footwear Trade what it is today. Get in contact with us today and find out how you can give us the vital support that we need.

© Footwear Industry Trust All Rights Reserved. charity no. 222117