About us

The Crosslane Foundation

The Crosslane Foundation was conceived and established by the founders of the Crosslane Group, a collection of separate businesses with interests in diverse industry sectors from real estate development and management to credit card payment terminals, but with the corporate mission of ‘Investing In The Future’, a declaration that is equally applicable to the Foundation’s aim.

As Founders, Crosslane has agreed to provide direction, sponsorship, administrative help and funding to the Foundation, particularly during the initial period.

The Crosslane Foundation CIO is a corporate foundation registered with the Charity Commission as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation on 7th September 2018 under registration number 1179854. The Foundation’s registered office is at Manchester International Office Centre, Styal Road, Manchester M22 5WB.

Why we want to help

We are a charity run by trustees who passionately believe from our own personal experiences that equality of opportunity starts with education and leads to improved social mobility.

Young people from disadvantaged backgrounds or who become disengaged often do not fully appreciate or understand the benefits and opportunities that knowledge and education provide.  They, might, therefore, lack the aspiration to better themselves, or simply might not have the means or support to continue further education. Alternatively, they may have a non-academic passion, skill or talent, but don’t have access to the opportunities to take advantage of these abilities. The Foundation aims to unlock talent and provide support where others have failed to do so, to enable these gifted individuals to build upon their raw talent with the right encouragement, training and development to gain access to personal improvement and fulfil their potential.

Our vision

To provide support to young people from disadvantaged backgrounds or who have become disengaged that enables them to fulfil their potential by increasing their horizons, raising their aspirations and developing their talents.

How we will achieve our goals

The Foundation intends to achieve its vision and goals by identifying and funding carefully selected projects and initiatives executed by existing charities who are aligned to achieving the same aims and outcomes as the Crosslane Foundation and doing so via specialist qualified and trained professionals.

Projects identified by the Foundation should deliver:

– Conducive environment for developing skills
– Teaching/training
– Ongoing encouragement, guidance & support
– Appropriate role models
– Personal development coaching
– Funds to pay for expenses (e.g. travel, kit, workwear)

Along the way we hope to be able to identify a small number of gifted or talented individuals whom we can support with specifically tailor-made programmes whether educational, vocational or entrepreneurial.

Our Founders

Crosslane has previous funded Kasupe, a UK charity, with activities in Malawi, Africa enabling Kasupe to build a new primary school for local children.  It was the success of this project that inspired the Founders to identify further opportunities to continue to support Kasupe enabling it to become self-sustaining.   They also wanted to identify how the Foundation could support young people closer to home, and in particular the Manchester area, local to the Crosslane office. As a result, the Trustees have identified projects which involve supporting existing charities whose aims are to benefit and enhance the education of young people who live in Salford and Manchester and which will provide a wider base for fundraising.

James Metcalf

Founder / Trustee

His early career was in information technology at International Computers Limited (ICL) and then Tandem Computers. Following this he joined Oracle Corporation, ultimately managing several business units across the UK. This was followed by positions of chairman and CEO in IT-based businesses.  In 2006 he co-founded the Crosslane Group with business partner, Michael Sharples, subsequently dedicating time to the UK and European student accommodation market, developing the Crosslane Group’s asset management, property advisory, management and lettings and property development services gaining over 11 years’ experience within the PBSA sector. He is currently chief executive officer of Crosslane Investment Management Limited and a director of other Crosslane companies. James is a Trustee of the Crosslane Foundation.

Michael Sharples

Founder / Trustee

Michael has successfully operated a number of businesses during his career. Since 1991 he has been a successful entrepreneur, as founder, acquirer and seller of a number of diverse businesses in different market sectors. Prior to Crosslane, Michael co-founded the Hamsard Group plc that acquired three technology businesses between 2002 and 2003. Within two years Hamsard was successfully operating and Michael, as CEO, successfully took Hamsard onto the AIM market in 2005 at a pre-IPO valuation of £18m. Under Michael’s stewardship Hamsard posted profit after tax of £1m for its financial year ending May 2005. Michael left Hamsard in 2006 to form the Crosslane Group which he co-founded with business partner, James Metcalf since when he has played a prominent role in the successful acquisition, development, operation and disposal of student accommodation across the UK and mainland Europe gaining over 11 years’ experience within the PBSA sector. Michael is a Trustee of the Crosslane Foundation.

Our Trustees

We are a charity run by trustees who passionately believe from our own personal experiences that equality of opportunity stems from knowledge and education.

Tom Hughes


Tom started work straight from school as an engineering trainee. He then moved to British Aerospace who sponsored him to complete a Masters Degree in Aircraft Design. He went on to occupy positions of Chief Engineer and Sales & Marketing Director of an American Corporation. Throughout his career Tom had opportunities to travel widely in Mainland Europe, the Middle East, India and Africa. During these trips Tom became aware that the educational opportunities from which he had benefited himself in the UK were simply unavailable in many other countries. Tom retired a few years ago and since then has been involved in his own small, family business and has undertaken fundraising and charity work mainly in East Cheshire. Tom was elected as Chairman of the Trustees in September 2018.

Gayle Ridout


Educated in Iran, Spain and the UK, Gayle graduated from the University of Birmingham with a B.A.Hons in Hispanic Studies and then qualified as a teacher, completing a PGCE in Modern Languages at King’s College, London. Following this she taught for 18 years in secondary comprehensive, independent and grammar schools in Hertfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire. Moving to work for the UK’s largest exam board she held a senior management position working in examination compliance, carrying out complex malpractice investigations in examinations and assessments. After completing a Level 7 BTEC in Professional Investigative Practice she became a consultant investigator for both vocational and general qualifications. Most recently she has been an inspector for the Joint Council for Qualifications visiting schools both in the UK and overseas. Gayle has a particular interest in the integrity of educational qualifications world-wide.

Kath Russell


Kath was born and educated in London before gaining a degree in English Literature from Cambridge College of Arts and Technology. She is an experienced Director of Development and Fundraising having spent more than 25 years working in the arts and heritage sectors obtaining strong business development, fundraising and professional management skills in Music, Theatre, Contemporary Art, Museums, Gallery Administration, Arts Administration and Event Management. In 2000 she obtained a Certificate in Fundraising Management from the Institute of Fundraising. She is currently Director of Development at The Hallé Orchestra in Manchester and Director of Strategic Fundraising at The Leeds Playhouse.

I am delighted and proud to be a trustee of the Crosslane Foundation. I am particularly looking forward to the satisfaction of being able to observe the personal development and growth of specific young people the Foundation is able to support and witness their improvements and what future achievements they accomplish for themselves.
Kath Russell, Trustee

Our business partners

Crosslane Property Group is a real estate company specialising in acquiring, developing and managing purpose-built student and Co-living accommodation.

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My Online Estate Agent are a digital focused estate agency company which brings innovative technology and competitive fair fixed fees to its customers.

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Co-living is a new type of fully furnished rental residential accommodation focused
on providing a genuine sense of community, using shared facilities, amenities and activities to create a more fulfilling, connected lifestyle.

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Prime Student Living provide a full suite of student accommodation management services whilst simultaneously delivering exceptional living experiences for thousands of students around the UK and Germany.

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Jackson Stephen LLP is a well-established chartered accountancy and business advisory practice, based in Warrington. They have been advising Crosslane since the outset of the organisation in 2006 and so have a long-established working relationship. They fully appreciate the motivation and purpose behind the creation of the Foundation and they have direct experience of their own, sponsoring and supporting an existing charity. Jackson Stephen have agreed to provide Accounting and Financial support to The Crosslane Foundation on a pro bono basis.

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Are you or your business interested in becoming one of our partners?

Help us make a real difference to young people who need it…