The Charitable Foundation has been making grants towards the purchase of bespoke footwear for people with severe walking difficulties for more than 30 years. The initiative was started by Past Masters Colonel Dennis Barratt, Raymond Sancroft-Baker and Liveryman Michael Illingworth, and was originally identified by St Bartholomew’s and the London Foot Hospital as a gap in NHS funding.
There is a rapidly increasing demand for specially made footwear given the ageing population and the incidence of obesity and diabetes and it is estimated that over 1m people in the UK have a need in this area.
In recent years, our emphasis has been on supplying hand made, carefully crafted footwear for injured servicemen based at the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre at Headley Court. The original introduction was made by our Royal Patron in 2010 and since then Liveryman Bill Bird has worked with many veterans who need ”normal” looking shoes to allow them to live a more confident life.
At the same time, we are pleased to support De Montfort University who have created footwear design courses on bio-mechanics and a post graduate MA course in Orthopaedic Footwear Design. We supply bursaries for students studying these vital courses
Even more recently, we have announced an important collaboration with John Foxon to research and fund apprenticeships in bespoke footwear production. Demand is outstripping supply and the small craft workshops need help in recruiting, funding and training new apprentices. The John Foxon Pattenmakers Apprentice Scheme will address this issue.