OakNorth Bank – the UK bank for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs has agreed to advance £5m to enable Side by Side, the special needs school and integrated nursery catering for the Jewish community, to complete its building work whilst its fundraising continues apace.
Side by Side’s new school premises is scheduled to open for pupils in September 2022, with an increased capacity from 80 to 130 and new state of the art facilities designed to meet the specific needs of every child. The school, which carries a “Good” rating from Ofsted, welcomes students from across London with range of special needs. Specially designed programs, customised to each level and ability are implemented by a cadre of staff headed by Gerald Lebrett.
The new £11m school project has raised more than half the required funds locally and it is always a challenge to ensure that the building work must continue as funds come in.
Israel Moskovitz, Founder of Avon Group and Trustee at Side by Side, said: “I have worked closely with special needs school, Side-by-Side, for several years now, and I continue to be blown away by the immense generosity of the local community.
It was an honour and a privilege to work with OakNorth Bank to ensure the project can move forward quickly. The new school will make a huge difference to the children and their families. I hope that we will now be able to reach our goal of opening next year.”
Jacob Sorotzkin, chair of Governors at Side by Side said: “The generosity of our community is astounding, and we are immeasurably grateful to those individuals who have secured this facility from OakNorth Bank. Our building work continues, our fundraising efforts continue but OakNorth’s advance will ensure that we will meet our target and open as planned next year.”
Ben Barbanel, Head of Debt Finance and Greg Manson, Associate Director of Debt Finance at OakNorth Bank, continued: “Side by Side has self-funded its growth extremely well, through charitable events and fundraising activities but cash flow for the building works is imperative. We at OakNorth Bank are truly proud to have been able to provide the necessary finance and we look forward to becoming partners with the wonderful Side by Side team.”