OUR APPROACH

We are an independent charitable foundation, established in 2015.

At the Foundation for FutureLondon, we work in three ways:

 
 
East London, and the four boroughs of Hackney, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest, is the creative and vibrant heart of our city.

CONNECTING COMMUNITIES

We are part of East Bank, a new £1.1 billion centre of culture, education, innovation and growth being built on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford, east London. East Bank sits in the vibrant, creative heart of our city, surrounded by the boroughs of Hackney, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest.

Connecting East Bank with arts, education and employment across the four boroughs is vital to our mission. Only by linking people and place can we ensure that East Bank belongs to everyone.

We rely on donations and grants from Foundations, philanthropic donors and corporate partners.

OPENING UP OPPORTUNITIES

We are proudly opening up opportunities, fundraising and grant-making for the people, places and organisations of East Bank.

We rely on donations and grants from Foundations, philanthropic donors and corporate partners.

We fund internships for young people with major international institutions and develop arts programmes to involve and engage our diverse communities.

Everything we do is driven by an understanding and a passion for placemaking.

CREATIVE PLACEMAKING

Everything we do is driven by an understanding and a passion for placemaking.

“Placemaking inspires people to collectively reimagine and reinvent public spaces as the heart of every community.”

Project for Public Spaces

Essentially, placemaking is about connecting people and place. Our vision is that East Bank will be intimately connected to our most vibrant boroughs.

 
 
 

WHO WE ARE

We are a new and growing team at the Foundation for FutureLondon. We have ambitious plans and big ideas, and if you think you can help, check out our current vacancies.

 
 

THE TEAM

 
 
Maria Adebowale-Schwarte

Maria Adebowale-Schwarte

Executive director

Maria joined the FFL team as executive director in February 2019. Maria is a placemaking strategist with over 25 years’ cross-sector experience in improving urban places and green spaces. She is passionate about genuine community-inclusive and cross-sector development and co-designed public/private space consultation.

Maria joined FFL from Living Space Project, the urban placemaking think tank consultancy which she founded. Maria also sits on several governance boards of organisations and advisory groups which hold a strong place-led, sustainable development, culture and heritage focus.

 
 
Siannon Nelson

Siannon Nelson

Executive assistant

Siannon has strong connections to the local community in Stratford, having been a primary teacher in the area before joining Newham Council’s Children’s Services department. There, she worked as an advocate for young people in developing their skills and exploring local opportunities to experience a variety of activities within the community.

Siannon is an Executive Assistant at FFL, supporting the team to communicate with our stakeholders and partners.

 
 
Rebecca Whyte

Rebecca Whyte

Arts & Culture manager

At the heart of Rebecca’s varied portfolio is a firm belief in the value of creative enterprise and social engagement. She has a BA Hons in Community Arts (LIPA), which provided practical training in community and public engagement methodologies, with art and culture at its core. She also holds a Master’s degree in Social Anthropology (UCL), focusing on visual culture and anthropology of art.

Rebecca has worked alongside skilled producers, artists and local residents, giving her a wide experience of events planning and community collaboration initiatives. She has held roles in arts management and consultancy, carrying out fundraising and project management for a multi-arts festivals.

 
 
 
Ashton Mullins

Ashton Mullins

Arts & Culture manager

After starting his career in investment banking, Ashton followed his passion for the arts to provide professional services to a range of grassroots cultural clients with a focus on grassroots organisations (inc Hackney WickED, The Nest Collective, Stour Space, Soundcrash), focussing on organisational development, festival production, music programming, fundraising, events management, community engagement, marketing as well as strategic and financial planning.

His most recent role at Kensington and Chelsea’s council used the arts to positively impact people, place and communities. He helped to develop the council’s approach to piloting new ways of working with arts organisations and supported delivery of the council’s festivals and wider creative learning programming with a focus on arts and health, public art and cultural peacemaking. Ashton has a background developing cultural programming that supports & empowers new generations of song collectors to conserve oral culture within their communities.

 
 

THE BOARD

 
 
Baroness Lola Young

Baroness Lola Young

Co-Chair

Baroness Lola Young is an independent crossbench peer, formerly professor of Cultural Studies at Middlesex University and head of culture at the Greater London Authority. Baroness Young has been on the boards of a number of cultural bodies, including the National Theatre and the Southbank Centre.

She was appointed a member of the House of Lords in 2004, and holds honorary doctorates from Middlesex University, the University of the Arts London and Sussex University.

 
 
Sir David Bell

Sir David Bell

Co-Chair

Sir David Bell is a non-executive director of the Economist. He retired as a director of Pearson plc and Chairman of the Financial Times at the end of 2009 after thirteen years on the Board.

He is currently Chair of Council, Roehampton University, Senior Independent Director on the Cambridge University Press and Assessment Board, President of Coram (the oldest children’s charity in the UK), Chair of the National Equality Standard advisory board, Chairman, Rare Recruitment, Chair of Bath Mozartfest, Chairman of Chapel Street Community Schools Trust, and Chair of The Institute of War & Peace Reporting Europe.

Between 1995 and 2002, he was Chairman of the Millennium Bridge Trust, responsible for conceiving the first new bridge across the Thames in the centre of London for 100 years.

 
 
Gerry Murphy

Gerry Murphy

Gerry Murphy is Deputy Chief Executive for the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC).

Prior to joining LLDC, Gerry was the Chief Operating Officer of the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) from April 2013 up until the ODA dissolved in December 2014, overseeing the transformation of the Olympic Village into East Village (incorporating a new school, health centre, 2,818 new homes for London and public realm) and delivering the subsequent sale of East Village to legacy owners.

Gerry was previously at the BBC, where she was Finance Director of BBC Workplace, the body responsible for managing the Corporation’s property strategy and portfolio and, prior to that, Financial Controller of BBC Television.

 
 
Marie Gabriel

Marie Gabriel

Marie is Chairperson of East London NHS Foundation Trust, a provider of mental health and community health services. Prior to that she was chairperson of health commissioning organisations with budgets up to £3bn.

Marie's contribution to the London Borough of Newham was recognised in 2010 when she was awarded Honorary Freedom of the borough and in 2012, having served as Vice Chairman of Newham University Hospital Trust and Chairman of Newham Community Health Council. Her contribution to health was recognised through incorporation on the Health Service Journal’s inaugural 'Inspirational Women' list.

 
 
Nii Sackey

Nii Sackey

Nii Sackey is the Chief Executive of Bigga Fish, which he founded in 1999 when he was just 21 years old. Bigga Fish is a youth music enterprise that engages young people through media, large scale events and developing youth enterprise.

Nii has and continues to advise a range of individuals, institutions and bodies on youth culture, education, emerging media and entrepreneurship. Nii also sits on the board for The Mayor’s Culture Advisory Group and the Artichoke Trust.

 
 
Sir Stephen O'Brien

Sir Stephen O'Brien

Stephen has lived in East London for many years. His great passion is for building the communities of East London through the provision of good healthcare, housing, education and employment.

He is Chairman of London Works and a Trustee of the Mayor’s Fund For London and Barts Charity. Previously the organisation’s first Chief Executive, he is a Vice President of Business in the Community and is especially interested in mental health.

Previously Stephen was Chairman of Barts Health NHS Trust, NHS Tower Hamlets, the University of East London, International Health Partners, London First, Teach First and Charles Fulton and Co Ltd.

 
 
Steve Stride

Steve Stride

Steve Stride is CEO of Poplar HARCA, an award-winning Housing and Regeneration Community Association in East London. He has worked in the housing sector for his entire professional career.

Since 1998, he has led a £1 billion regeneration programme in the Poplar area of Tower Hamlets.

Steve has lived in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets for most of his life and is passionate about the regeneration opportunities for East London. He previously worked as an auditor for charities and voluntary sector clients including housing associations.

 
 
 
 
About East Bank

About East Bank

We are a part of the East Bank partnership, connecting local communities to the new centre of culture, education, innovation and growth being built on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford, east London.

East Bank will be spread across three sites – UCL East (UCL’s new campus), Stratford Waterfront (Sadler’s Wells, BBC, the V&A including a partnership with the Smithsonian Institution and UAL’s London College of Fashion) and Here East (the V&A's new Collection and Research Centre, and an existing space for UCL).

The scheme, which is receiving £385m from the Mayor of London and £151m from the Government, will provide skills and jobs for local people, bring over 10,000 students to the site, and attract thousands of visitors from London and beyond. East Bank will help to cement the capital’s reputation as a world leader in culture, education and innovation creating 2,500 jobs, £1.5 billion of economic benefit and 600 new homes.

East Bank will build on the area’s existing creative credentials, and East Bank partners have been building relationships and delivering projects with the thriving arts, fashion and community organisations based in the area, including the artistic community in Hackney Wick, East London Dance, Theatre Royal Stratford East, Studio Wayne McGregor and many more.