With a track record of successful grants to families from fashion retailers including M&S, Jigsaw, Top Man and Monsoon, the Fashion & Textile Children’s Trust (FTCT) has become a well recognized charity within the fashion retail industry, and quite rightly so.
For those of you who attend the Drapers Awards / Drapers Independent Awards, you will have seen FTCT is the chosen charity at these events. In brief, the charity provides financial support to children, (0-18yrs), whose parents work in the UK fashion and textile industry. But as a senior leader what exactly can you do to harness the positive effect of a charity like FTCT, for your own employees?
We chatted to Director Anna Pangbourne from the Trust to find out how CEOs can ensure that their own employees know about FTCT.
Firstly, Anna- What’s your story? How did you first get into the non-profit industry?
“I previously set up and ran a children’s charity which enabled children to be journalists for the day. During my time there, over 30,000 children used the newsroom facility to write and design their own newspaper front page.
“Six years ago I joined this charity – a charity with a rich heritage, dating back to 1853. It was then called the Textile Industry Children’s Trust – aligned with the textile industry reminiscent of its original formation over 150 years ago. However, we knew this would be challenging to resonate with today’s fashion and retail industry. After meeting with CEOs of manufacturing businesses we recognised that we would need to start to raise our visibility. This led to a full rebrand in 2010 and we have gone from strength to strength, but there is still a lot of work to be done.
Why is it important that CEO’s get behind the charity and what difference will it make to their business?
“We understand CEO’s are likely to be worried that employees who are parents can be distracted at work and not perform at their best. This is where FTCT can step in – all they have to do is tell their employees about us. Employees may not want to talk about personal issues, and problems at home can soon have a negative impact on their work and your business. Only 8% of families in the UK with disabled children get the support they need from their local social services and it costs 3x as much to raise a child with disability as it does to raise a child without disability. Our confidential financial support to employees is FREE: there is no subscription. It doesn’t matter if you have a workforce of 5 or 5,000. We’re a small and friendly team of five – every call is handled with care – we’re here to help.
How can companies get in touch to get started?
- It’s really easy, just Call Anna, Director on 020-7232-1876 / email@example.com to request your free posters for all your UK stores and distribution centres. By displaying the poster families that may need a bit of extra support, can get in touch with FTCT.
- Include details of the charity in your staff newsletter / Intranet / wageslips. Follow our charity on Twitter: @ftct and Facebook
- If you are passionate about supporting the children of those that work in the UK fashion and textile industry, there’s always an opportunity to fundraise – we’d love to hear from you. Why not sign up to one of our charity fun runs such as our annual “Santa Run”. There are lots of other events to take part in, too!
Just by putting up posters across your stores, you could be helping a family who needs a bit of extra support for their child.
“It’s really easy to get involved and by helping your employees, in turn this helps your business – there is a clear cost benefit to be had. If an employee has to take leave to care for a child this could cost the company, for example, 6.8 days a year, which equals £800
If you have 250 members of staff that totals £200,000 per year.
ORESA’s very own John Chatwin is hoping to run for our cause at the Paris Marathon in April 2016; we will update you on his plans as soon as we have more information.
About the Fashion & Textile Children’s Trust
FTCT offers financial support to children (0-18yrs) providing that their parent or carer works in any aspect of the UK fashion and textile industry – this includes retail, manufacturing, distribution centres, start-ups, independent stores, supermarkets that sell clothing and more. Their education grants cover essential items to support a child’s education such as school uniform, transport to school, specialist education, a laptop for a child with specific needs and more. Their wellbeing grants cover therapies, counselling, adaptations to the home, clothing and bedroom furniture for the child.
If you already know a family that FTCT could be supporting, please call 0300-123-9002 or visit www.ftct.org.uk for more details.