The work of the Textile Committee is a very important part of the Weavers' Company’s role in maintaining and widening links with the textile industry. In the 21st century, the Company seeks to build on almost nine hundred years of involvement in the craft and manufacture of textiles, especially weaving.
The main aims and objectives are to encourage excellence in all spheres of the United Kingdom woven textile industry by identifying, supporting and nurturing exceptional students training for and young talent working within the industry, supporting centres of excellence in textile education and recognising and working with those who have made the most significant contribution to the industry.
The Textile Committee includes members of the Court and Livery with wide textile experience and recommends grants, scholarships and awards which are presented at an annual Awards Ceremony by distinguished people. Presenters have included Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal, the Lord Mayor and the Chairmen of leading textile companies.
The Company Silver Medal
This is awarded to an individual or sometimes to two people, who it is felt have made an outstanding contribution to the weaving industry either in the field of technology, management, education, or in the craft of weaving.
In order to focus and help optimise its support for universities or colleges offering textile courses, it was decided in 2007 to identify six establishments across the UK, which it was felt were potential centres of excellence, to which the Company’s grant giving could be directed. These are reviewed on a regular basis with new colleges joining the scheme and others leaving. The following colleges are currently supported:
- Falmouth University
- Heriot-Watt University
- Loughborough University
- Nottingham Trent University
- Royal College of Art
- University of Huddersfield
Textile Scholarship Awards
The Company awards scholarships to undergraduates who have completed at least one year of study and to postrgraduates from the designated colleges. Students must be a British subject studying a weave-related discipline and the application must be supported by the college.
Support for Education Awards
The Company provides capital grants to its designated colleges with the aim of helping weaving departments to upgrade or renew existing equipment, purchase new equipment, or enable their students to gain experience of modern technology. These grants also include the purchase of yarn to help students with their studies.
Entry to Work Scheme
The Company is particularly proud of its entry to work scheme, which has attracted financial support from other Livery Companies and which is designed to encourage UK Textile Companies to take on newly qualified textile students by making a contribution towards their first year’s salary.
The Company also supports, through financial contributions, a number of Textile Exhibitions which provide newly graduated textile designers with an opportunity to display their work within an international showcase. In addition a few donations are made in response to appeals from textile museums and other textile related causes.