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HOW IT ALL STARTED
Charity, Bootstrap Charity
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Throughout 40 years of change, we remain a charity. We look to offer support to our tenants to grow into sustainable businesses and to be socially enterprising, and we empower young people by arming them with skills, knowledge, tools and a network to succeed professionally.

A LITTLE BIT ABOUT BOOTSTRAP'S HISTORY

Front of the Print House on Ashwin Street in the 1980s, now Mamachari, a local bike shop.

Bootstrap was founded in 1977 by Helen Evans and Martin McEnery. They’d experienced success setting up a multiracial co-operative housing association for low income families and by 1977 the project was so successful they decided to see if the same concept could be applied to employment creation.

Despite resistance at the time from Islington and Hackney Councils they registered ‘Bootstrap Company’ as a charity and set themselves up on Conewood Street, Islington, in a converted dairy. They started workshops in toy making, knitting and bike repair, providing space, advice, a creche and some financial support.

The charity’s activities developed through working with unemployed residents on estates in Hackney, Lambeth and Camden. These estate services offered residents advice and information about jobs and training opportunities.

Later, the support work moved from the estates to Bootstrap’s home in Dalston. Bootstrap has worked in Dalston, Hackney – one of most deprived council areas in England – since 1980. Over time the activities grew to include the provision of managed workspace and we are now home to more than 100 organisations, including small businesses, creative and social entrepreneurs, charities and start-ups.

Throughout 40 years of change, we remain a charity. We look to offer support to our tenants to grow into sustainable businesses and to be socially enterprising, and we empower young people by arming them with skills, knowledge, tools and a network to succeed professionally.