Since it was founded, Footwear Friends has adapted its role to meet the changing needs of people from the shoe industry. At the outset it sought to deal with widespread poverty and deprivation with very limited resources. Now, with the huge rise in living standards and development of state provisions, it is more concerned with a limited number of individuals for whom state provision has for one reason or another clearly been inadequate. It has also extended its remit from the manufacturing sector alone to all parts of the shoe trade, in which over half a million people today will have at some time worked.
The Society is governed by an Executive Committee and consists of 14 members, who are responsible for ensuring the Society fulfils its constitutional and legal duties. Members of the Executive Committee voluntarily give of their time in ensuring that no case of need is turned away. The everyday running of the Society’s office is handled by the Secretary Gabi O’Sullivan and her assistant Mandie Brown.
In essence, though, Footwear Friends has remained a charity run by and supported by shoe industry people to help their former colleagues and their families.
The desperate need for charity that was apparent in 1836 has, thankfully, long since been removed. Nevertheless, there remains so much evidence of individuals, and families, still requiring assistance in one form or another. Footwear Friends, having adjusted to the changing circumstances through its history, remains to provide that need and an assurance for the future.
Footwear Friends is a part of the Footwear Benevolent Society (FBS).