Side by Side new school building to be completed thanks to £5m loan

Construction on the £11 million school began last September, but a shortfall had threatened the project


Stamford Hill-based special needs charity Side by Side can complete its long awaited new school building thanks to a £5 million loan from a “challenger” bank co-founded by a Jewish entrepreneur.

Construction on the £11 million school and integrated nursery began last September, with £6 million having been raised locally. But the shortfall had threatened the project.

With funding secured thanks to the £5 million loan from OakNorth Bank, co-established by Colombian-born, Joel Perlman, the school looks forward to increasing its capacity from 80 to 130. It will also be able to offer modern facilities that meet the needs of pupils, who range in age from two to 19.

“At the moment we are bursting at the seams,” said governors’ chair Jacob Sorotzkin.

“The demand for our services is way over the capacity we have and without this funding to finish our new school building there would be many children left behind. That’s something we don’t want to see happening. 

“Developing a new school in general is very difficult. Especially as a charity that relies on donations.” Once building started, “you start you can’t stop – even though you don’t know how much money is coming in. 

“This loan makes completing the school possible.”

Raising the £11 million had proved problematic, particularly during a pandemic. With Beth Din approval, the charity had worked closely with debt financiers Ben Barbanel and Greg Manson to find an acceptable solution.

“Given my background and awareness of the Jewish community, I have many connections in Stamford Hill,” Mr Barbanel told the JC.

“On a visit with another client, I was asked whether this project was something I could assist with. 

“The fact that it’s a Jewish charity is nice, but it’s not the reason we did the deal.

“What is important is facilitating education and a community for a needy part of the Stamford Hill community. When I went around the current building with a trustee and the headmaster it was incredibly moving - but also slightly upsetting that the building is not in great shape.”

Mr Sorotzkin added: “We felt from day one that the people we worked with did everything they can to support us. It’s not a simple thing and they did everything possible to make it happen.” 

The loan has been guaranteed by a number of local supporters. 

The new building is set for completion by September 2022.


Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive