While Dalston in east London has seen a huge investment and regeneration programme in recent years it has made it difficult for social enterprises and creatives to find affordable space to rent.
Fortunately long-running social enterprise Bootstrap is set-up to do just that. Founded in 1977 as a training and enterprise organisation the company has gone on to support and nurture charities, social enterprises small creative businesses based in and serving the community.
Poorly funded organisations such as Action for Children, the Latin American Women’s Refuge and the Refugee Women’s Association have all benefited from affordable space in an otherwise unaffordable area where not everyone has benefited from the influx of money and promises of social mobility.
Fiona Evans, who works with Action for Children, said: “Bootstrap enables us to reach local children who need our help, whether they are young carers, have Mental Health issues, as well as those who have trouble integrating at school or into the community.”
While funding by local government has been severely cut in recent years charitable organisations have had to learn to market themselves in recent years and so visits from Body Shop founder Anita Roddick and actor Eva Longoria have helped get the publicity they need as well as a moral boost.
However Bootstrap has not forgotten its roots of helping train and support young people into employment.
Damion Thomas, who works at Bootstrap, was long term unemployed before he became their receptionist and he believes he would have found work a lot quicker had he learnt about Bootstraps intern programme, he said.