A charitable trust providing adventure activities and environmental learning in a safe, enjoyable, learning framework for young people and the community since 1995.
Adventure sports such as kayaking, canoeing, stand-up paddle boarding, mountain biking, Nordic walking take place in and around a beautiful river-side centre in north Hackney, with members from near and far enjoying local trips, expeditions and other activities that enhance health and wellbeing, and enable community support, environmental awareness, educational support and volunteering opportunities. Leaside has three charitable objectives:

  • Fitness through water and land-related recreational activities for character, maturity and social
  • Personal and social development for life skills to live, learn, work, achieve and contribute to
  • Learning and solutions for complex environmental issues confronting our planet, acquiring the
    skills for creative problem-solving and advocating positive change.

We are based in a unique location in East London, the River Lea in Hackney. Leaside delivers inspiring and engaging outdoor activities to young people.
We offer choices to young people: encouraging them to stay in education, develop their confidence, leadership skills and ambition.

April to Sept 2023 – some detail…

8879 visits to take part in paddlesports, narrowboat trips, environmental learning, youth clubs, litter picks and family sessions.
41 schools including 3 special education schools attended Leaside for learning and adventure activities taking part in over 235 sessions with nearly 4000 participants
36 environmental learning sessions involving 452 young people and 54 adults
The first Leaside Family Fun and Community Sustainability Day involving 450 local people and 14 local environmental action groups

Diversity increasingly reflects our communities.
34% were female
31% have an ethnic heritage.
Our weekly girls’ group continues to be very popular with Orthodox Jewish girls.

Meet our  Trustees

Derek Stride
Derek StrideChairman
Derek is a keen outdoor person, canoeist, climber, walker and birdwatcher He is enthusiastic about sharing these interests, and over his career in education, and as a canoe instructor, has helped introduce and support hundreds young (and older) people in developing their awareness of the outdoors.

Since joining Leaside as a member in the 1990s, he has been a volunteer instructor and organised excursions. As a trustee and Chair of the Trust, he is committed to ensuring Leaside continues to develop and engage with the local community.

Derek has other interests in his local community, and plays the bass guitar.

Retired Assistant Head Teacher. Chair of The Phoenix Autism Trust, The Phoenix School Autism Charitable Trust, The Mary Baker Trust, and trustee of the Christ Church Foundation.

Chris Heaume
Chris HeaumeTrustee
Chris became a keen kayaker after retiring from 45+ years as a youth worker in London. He loves the energy, peace and freedom in sea and river kayak touring. Born and bred in Guernsey he’s lived in or near Hackney for 50 years, with a 4-year break touring in Japan, and 5 years exploring Germany.
As a youth worker in clubs, schools, colleges, on community estates and as CEO of Central London Connexions, Chris has helped young people thrive. He also helped a group of young men set-up the ground-breaking London Gay Teenage group in 1978, trained male youth workers in work-with-boys, was an Associate Ofsted Inspector of Connexions services, has been a trustee of the Partnership for Young London since 2007, and proudly received an OBE for work with young people in London.

He’s keen to help Leaside develop an even smarter, vibrant future where young people and others continue to really enjoy themselves!

Dominic Burnett
Dominic BurnettTrustee
Dominic is passionate about the outdoors and the mental and physical benefits of nature. He helped found the first Gig rowing club in London, has raised money for charities in the past by rowing across the English Channel and the Great Glen and has competed at the World Pilot Gig Championships • He lives in nearby Redbridge and is a big fan of the river Lea and the surrounding area. Relatively new to the board Dominic is looking forward to introducing more people to the benefits of being on and around the water • He joined the Trust earlier this year, April 2020 • Dominic is a Director of Operations at UBS.
Jackie Woods
Jackie WoodsEnvironmental Advocate
Jackie has lived in Hackney for over 30 years. She loves Hackney life, Marshes and the Lea Valley environments. Born and bred in Derry, N. Ireland, Jackie gained an Environmental Science degree which was put to little use during a career working in the Civil Service and public organisations! She managed IT, internal businesses and was a Project Manager delivering many change initiatives. She’s a keen kayaker having started kayaking at Uni more than 30 years ago.

After leaving the office she spent five years walking dogs in and around Clapton. It was during this time that she began kayaking again and reintroduced herself to Leaside. After witnessing firsthand the demise of the river through pollution and neglect, Jackie started volunteering locally on litter picks, tree planting and recently as a kayaking volunteer at Leaside. She has recently agreed to act as Leaside’s Environmental Advocate and has been working with us to build a five-year Environmental Strategic Plan.

Jackie is also a trustee of a Charity based in N. Ireland that works with people with profound learning and physical difficulties and their carers.