Two small preschool children playing with puzzles.

The Fashion & Textile Children’s Trust is a small charity with a long history of providing financial support to families in the UK fashion and textile industry.

Supporting families since 1853

The charity was founded back in 1853 when the cotton weaving industry was thriving. A group of textile merchants formed a financial trust fund, to support the children and widow of a former colleague.

The trust grew in size and funds to help more children of those working in the allied e trades. Over the years the trust's work attracted the support of some prestigious figures, including the author Charles Dickens, who was our Chairman of Appeal in 1856.

In 1866 a small school was opened, near Purley, dedicated to supporting the children of those working in the industry. Opened by the Prince of Wales - later Edward VII - the school thrived and following the First World War a second school was built, which became the Royal Russell School.

We are honoured to have received Royal patronage throughout the charity's 165 year history until the passing of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.

Picture of a plaque at The Royal Russell School.

Remaining relevant

In 1968 the school was sold when it was that most of the pupils were from outside the industry. Proceeds from the sale were retained by the charity and a new trust was formed, known the Purley Children’s Trust.

The newly formed trust sought to 'support the education of children and relief of poverty of any persons presently or formerly employed in the textile and allied trades who shall be in need of financial assistance'. These remain our charitable objectives today.

In 2010 the charity the Trustees agreed to change the name of the charity to the Fashion & Textile Children’s Trust (FTCT) to better reflect the modern day fashion and textile industry and all its related sectors.

How we help today

Today, our vision is that no fashion or textile family should have to struggle financially to meet their child’s basic needs.

Families like Kim and JoshKim is a supermarket assistant for Waitrose, which is part of the John Lewis Partnership. She applied to FTCT for a grant for essential clothing and furniture for her and son Josh, aged nine. 

My relationship had recently broken down, so Josh and I moved out to set up on our own. We didn’t have any furniture of our own and needed help with that. The grant enabled me to buy a dining table and chairs, which has created my new favourite time of day. It's sometimes difficult to draw a conversation with Josh, so now we can sit together and talk about our days and how we are both feeling. It has drawn us closer together after a very turbulent year. Kim, mum of Josh. 

Read more real stories. 

It’s our industry – let’s support each other, together.  

Get involved

There are a number of ways you can support us. From volunteering to fundraising, making a donation to corporate sponsorship

We are truly grateful for any support you can give to our charity. 


What else was happening in 1853 Britain?