Throughout 2023, the cost of living continued to impact families across the UK and those working in the textile care industry were no exception. The impact of the pandemic, coupled with the cost of living crisis have left many families dealing with financial issues like debt and arrears on rent or household bills.

However, there is help available for parents and carers employed in the textile care industry, through the long established trade charity the Fashion & Textile Children’s Trust.

The Trust gives grants for children’s essential items, to help parents who are struggling financially and work across all aspects of the British fashion and textile industry, including laundry and textile care.

It is less than two months into the new year and the Trust has already sent over £15,000 in grants to industry families who are in financial difficulty, due to a sudden change in home circumstances and ongoing issues such as health issues.

Anna Pangbourne, FTCT CEO comments: “Financial difficulties can hit anyone, at any time, regardless of where you work. We are proud to be the only organisation supporting the textile care industry and the parents working within it.

“We are hearing from families every day who are really struggling. A change at home, a relationship breakdown or health issues, coupled with a lack of savings mean the families applying for our grants were in serious financial need.

“We have seen that 97% of families who applied for grants in 2023 had no savings to fall back on in an emergency. So when an appliance broke, or their child outgrew all their clothes, they had nowhere else to turn. It’s at times like these that our grants can really help.”

How the Trust helps

The FTCT supports children of people working in fashion, textile or clothing related businesses and is already working with a number of textile service companies including Johnson Service Group, Aberdeen Laundry, Kannegiesser, Clean Linen and Services and Jacksons Workwear.

The Trust also has the ongoing support of both the TSA and also the National Laundry Group, chaired by Alistair McCrae. Most recently the NLG annual dinner raised over £5,000 for the Trust and introduced new textile care employers, who are keen to promote FTCT grants to their employees.

If you are an employer and would like to promote FTCT grants to your team or if you know of a parent who may need support, here’s what you need to know about how the Trust can help.

How to apply for a grant:

To apply for a grant, you must be the parent or carer of a child (aged 0- 18 years) work or have worked in the UK fashion and textile industry for at least one year within the last nine years and meet the Trust’s financial hardship criteria- as detailed here

When applying for an FTCT grant, parents and carers will be asked to share details about their home and financial situation. They are also asked to supply documents to support an application.

The Trust can consider grant applications for items including:

  • Children’s clothing
  • Children’s bedroom furniture
  • Essential appliances, washing machine, fridge, oven
  • Mobility equipment
  • Sensory toys
  • Therapies

Pangbourne offers this advice for employers to give families thinking about applying but who perhaps feel nervous about approaching a charity: “If you feel a bit anxious about getting in touch, don’t be. This is a totally confidential service and FTCT does not share any application information with employers. There is nothing to lose by getting in touch and seeing if FTCT can help.”

Emma, Theo and Tyler

When Theo and Tyler’s bed was damaged, Emma drew on the support of an FTCT grant after hearing about the charity though her work at Clean Linen Services. Here, Emma speaks about her experience.

“When I applied to the FTCT there was a lot going on. I’d recently split from my partner and our house had been flooded by the drains outside. In the process of painting the boys room, the contractors broke their bed.”

“I’d heard about FTCT through my work as a manager on the extended HR team at Clean Linen Service. I realised I was promoting it to other colleagues and being an advocate for the charity, but not trying it myself. I thought, what have I got to lose? and put my application in.

“When you’re in a manager role, people think you’re earning lots, and they expect you to be able to afford this stuff on your own. So at first I felt guilty about applying. But I thought to myself, ‘everything I do is for those boys’.”

“Applying to the FTCT was so easy. The email comms and form were so quick and straightforward. Everyone I spoke to was really helpful, making me feel comfortable.

“When the grant money came though we bought the beds and my Dad helped me to assemble them. When my kids said ‘thank you Mummy’, it made it all so worth it. I genuinely couldn’t thank the FTCT enough and what it meant to my family. I didn’t have to think about getting a loan or adding to my debt. The charity was like a light that came on during a really difficult period.”

Johnsons Service Group boosts FTCT’s Winter Appeal

Trade charity the Fashion & Textile Children’s Trust has announced it raised over £19,000 in its first winter appeal, boosted by the fundraising efforts of Johnsons Service Group (JSG).

During December 2023, JSG hosted a 12 Days of Christmas Raffle across all its UK sites and raised £10,000 for the winter appeal. Staff entered to win daily prizes with incremental price increases, ranging from Amazon vouchers, to a prize worth around £1000 on the final day.

Rebecca Morgan, head of HR at Johnsons Hotel Linen, says: “At Johnson Service Group, we are proud to have taken part in the Fashion & Textile Children’s Trust, Winter Appeal.”

“It’s a great cause supporting families and their children, especially during winter which we recognise can be a difficult time due to the harsher cold weather and pressure on families with added expenses during the festive period.”

The money raised will go towards supporting parents who work in the fashion and textile industry, by paying for the life essentials their kids need: from cosy duvets, to warm winter coats and ovens for hot meals.

Anna Pangbourne, CEO of FTCT comments: “Our success wouldn’t have been possible without the support of our incredible partners, including the phenomenal efforts by JSG. Their commitment to our cause has made a real difference to the lives of many children.”

The Trust runs two fundraising appeals every year and looks to the industry for support. The next appeal will focus on School Uniform and starts in June.

Case Study: How Jacksons Workwear promotes FTCT grants to staff

Jacksons Workwear has been referring staff to FTCT since early 2019. Here, Steve Pearce, managing director of Jacksons talks about his experience of working with the FTCT and the benefits it has brought his workforce.

“My first contact with Anna and FTCT was at the TSA Spring conference. Anna took the stage to talk about the charity and during her presentation it was clear we might have staff that could qualify for a grant.

“I passed on the charity’s details to our team leaders who discussed the grant scheme with their teams. Although I am not involved in the application process I am aware members of staff have applied.”

Last year the Trust supported Jacksons Workwear families who were coping with challenging home circumstances including caring for children with additional health needs. The grants given by the Trust helped to boost their children’s wellbeing by funding items including children’s beds, clothing and other household items.

As a small team, Pearce has been able to see first hand the positive impact FTCT grants have had for Jacksons Workwear staff. “I cannot think of any reason for a member of staff working within the industry, that is facing difficult family times, should not complete the simple application process and hopefully find help is there when they most need it.”

Work with the FTCT

The Trust are always keen to meet employers who would like to promote their grants to staff. Find out more at or connect via LinkedIn.