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Story: Grant

Leaside Trust

Fund: Private: Enterprise Development Programme
Type: Grant
Amount: £30k
Location: East London

Key achievements:

  • Built a new classroom

Leaside Trust used the Environment strand of the Enterprise Development Fund (EDP) to help develop their educational workshops on sustainability, biodiversity and environmental management.

Social Impact

Leaside Trust is a Hackney based charity located in a unique activity centre on the bank of the River Lea, overlooking Walthamstow Marshes. Lead by a team of educators and outdoor enthusiasts, Leaside Trust operates within an educational framework for children and young people, and provides activities including canoeing, stand-up paddle boarding, mountain biking, Nordic walking, offsite trips orienteering and expeditions. Alongside having fun, they leave with transferable skills that will improve their life chances, develop their confidence, encourage them to stay in education and equipping them with valuable leadership skills. Over the years Leaside Trust has helped develop a new generation of teachers, coaches and even the odd Olympian.

The activities provided by Leaside enables them to engage not just with young people, but also families, adults and local community groups in a both a recreational and educational manner. Alongside this, Leaside Trust provide a food bank to the public and have a longstanding environmental commitment with the aim to become net zero.

How we helped

Leaside Trust received the environmental strand of the Enterprise Development Fund which came in the form of a £30k grant to help with the construction of new educational spaces. The Leaside Trust are going to be developing and embedding their workshops and events in partnership with ecoACTIVE, an environmental education charity for schools, families and the public to experience a programme of sessions relating to zero carbon power, river environments, riverbank eco workshops, local biodiversity,  and canoe river litter picks.

Alongside their specialist indoor and outdoor classrooms that will be improved as part of their EDP journey, Leaside Trust will also incorporate the exceptional surrounding natural location and deliver the sessions on rivers, in parks and marshlands. Together with the grant funding, Leaside Trust have been working on business development and participating in a peer support programme and attending a variety of workshops on leadership, sustainable business management, approaching investment opportunities, growing their enterprise and many more.

It has been a helpful programme, from the interaction with the Enterprise Development Manager right through to where they are today. It has been open, thoughtful, and responsive as a programme.”

Chris from Leaside Trust

What was the outcome?

The new classroom funded through the Enterprise Development Programme holds up to 25 children at a time. The classes run in conjunction with ecoACTIVE and a teacher funded through the EDP support are aimed at primary and secondary school children. They have done some retrofitting at the front of their building where the new classroom was built and have been hosting successful open days to engage more with their local community. By Spring 2024 they hope to have a lovely outdoor area that people will attract new people to the site. The ultimate aim for Leaside Trust is to cultivate a space in Hackney that has the look and feel of community hub for the public.

To become more energy efficient, they have installed an air source heat pump for the main building, and they have had solar panels fitted on their roof. Leaside Trust are looking to utilise batteries to store energy that is generated and use that in the colder months to heat and power the centre with the ultimate aim being that they are to use little to no electricity or gas from the grid.

With the programme of education EDP provides, Leaside Trust found that the teaching programme, which is more around enterprise as a business, rather than looking at enterprise from a community business perspective and a grant dependent background extremely useful. The trust has since been working on ways to diversify their income streams and has begun to build relationships with corporations and offering the space for corporate away days. Without EDP support Leaside Trust say that they would not have developed their idea to the stage it is at now. The Enterprise Development Manager was encouraging about their enterprise idea and EDP gave them hope and confidence in what they are looking to and have achieved.

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