Retail Trust

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Retail Trust is a charity based in North London which aims to support those working in the retail industry in the U.K. The charity runs a helpline and several retirement estates in England and Scotland, as well as giving educational bursaries and hardship grants.

Retail Trust
Motto looking after all people in retail
Formation 1832
Legal status Charity
Purpose Supporting those in the retail industry
Headquarters London
  • United Kingdom
Region served
England, Wales, Scotland,
approx. 165


Retail Trust was founded in 1832 by Thomas Helps, as the The Linen and Woollen Drapers, Silk Mercers, Lacemen, Haberdashers and Hosiers' Institution. Initially it was a 'confederacy of good feeling' with close links to the emerging department store sector.[1] In 1898, an estate in Mill Hill was donated to the charity which became the first retirement estate for aged retail workers, and the charity changed its name to Cottage Homes. Queen Elizabeth II became a patron in 1948. Two more retirement estates were acquired in 1956 and 1960, in Derby and Glasgow respectively.

In 1996, the charity launched its Helpline, which shifted the focus of the charity to current retail workers. In 2001, the charity changed its name from Cottage Homes to Retail Trust, and opened a fourth retirement home in Liverpool. A fifth retirement estate was opened in 2009 in Salford.


Traditionally Retail Trust's fundraising initiatives focused on high profile gala events, such as the London Ball, the Great Northern Ball and the Grand Scottish Ball. The first London Ball was held in 1952. The annual ball has become one of the most prestigious events in the retail calendar. It is regularly attended by retail giants, such as Sir Stuart Rose and Sir Philip Green as well as celebrities e.g. Caprice[2][3] The Ball has been hosted by several household names, including Ruby Wax and Jimmy Carr.

Retail Trust also launched a talent competition in 2009 called Retail Trust Search for a Star[4]


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