The Leus Family Foundation’s charitable donations: Statement from founder Dmitry Leus

The Leus Family Foundation’s charitable donations: Statement from founder Dmitry Leus

My contribution to the Prince’s Foundation was intended to support their educational and heritage goals, in particular their innovative training programmes. I never had as my goal a dinner or overnight invitation.

My private hope was that eventually some collaboration might have been possible with the Prince’s Foundation for the creation of a National Fencing Centre, to bring the sport to disadvantaged young people nationwide, just as my own foundation already does in Brixton, transforming young people’s lives through sport. Such a National Fencing Centre remains a major goal for me, in order to offer young people the same life chances that sport offered me. This forms part of the vision of the Leus Family Foundation, which seeks to improve the lives of children and young people, especially those challenged by poverty, illness or special needs.

Given that my private charitable donation has been made public in recent media coverage, I must clarify certain points. I made two separate donations together totalling £500,000 to the Prince’s Foundation via Burke’s Peerage. I have now learned that not all of these funds were then transferred on to the Prince’s Foundation. No funds at all were returned to me from Burke’s Peerage. This is especially upsetting as these funds could have done so much good for all the children and young people our foundation supports.

My commitment to supporting children and young adults in the UK and beyond remains undiminished. Our Foundation’s work began long before the pandemic, but intensified as we worked to play our role supporting those vulnerable people who have suffered the most in these especially challenging times. I remain devoted to playing a positive role in the UK, a country where I see my future and that of my children.

home – Leus Family Foundation

Dmitry Leus: We owe it to children, especially those with special needs

Dmitry Leus: We owe it to children, especially those with special needs

We know that young people with special needs and their families have felt the lockdown restrictions even more than most.

Whether through having periods of no in-person school, reduced or even no activities and the general feeling of isolation brought about by the pandemic, this experience has been more acute for those children and young adults with special needs and also for their families.

Our foundation’s focus this year is very much on helping children and families bounce back from what we know has been a tough and isolating year for many. It is a priority for us to bring fun, learning, connection and community support to those children and families that need it most.

We have recently had a great opportunity to provide such support in a very direct way. The excellent programme run by Runnymede Special Needs Youth Club, also known as Brightlights, has recently received a grant from the Leus Family Foundation to support their work with young people with special needs in the Runnymede area.

The club is for children aged 5–13 years with special needs in Runnymede and surrounding areas. The children have disabilities ranging from autism, Asperger’s, Downs and moderate to severe learning difficulties, with some of them requiring one-to-one care.

Established in 1996, children with varying learning and physical disabilities can come to the club every Thursday evening for two hours during term time.

The youth club is known for providing a vibrant programme that includes the use of the soft play area, crafts and external outings, trips to places like the Isle of Wight, Disneyland Paris, Spain, Lapland UK, Paultons Park, Beale Park, and Legoland.

The club also holds a Christmas party every year where the children receive a visit and presents from Father Christmas. Easter eggs are also received.

Some of these activities have not been possible during the pandemic, but Brightlights has strived to support families during this time.

The charity arranged two trips to Heron Lake which allowed the children to take part in water sports and activities which they greatly enjoyed. These trips also gave the members and families the opportunity to meet up and see each other, which was most needed during this difficult time.

Lucy O’Neill, the chair of Brightlights, welcomed the contribution from the Leus Family Foundation, saying: “We are here to provide fun and recreation for young people with special needs, which can also play a helpful respite role for their parents and carers.

We are a safe environment for children who might have difficulty accessing other facilities within the local borough.

Our base at Egham Orbit Leisure Centre enables the use of the soft play area, arts and crafts activities, books and toys from our toy library. We occasionally hold family and friends evenings when parents and carers can meet and discuss family matters.

The contribution from the Leus Family Foundation will help us to keep bringing this fun and support to children and their families and we’re very grateful.”

Identifying and supporting those in our community who perhaps have suffered the most during the pandemic and therefore need our support will continue to be a major focus for the Leus Family Foundation.

It will take years, if not decades, for the world to fully understand the impact of the pandemic on our young people. In many cases they have made sacrifices in terms of education and social development in order to keep the most vulnerable safe.

Our Foundation is strongly motivated to counteract any damage to them by supporting initiatives that enrich their lives and support their families.

Leus Family Foundation supports Runnymede special needs youth club

Leus Family Foundation supports Runnymede special needs youth club

Brightlights has been on the receiving end of a considerable grant from the foundation to help further its work for local youngsters.

Runnymede Special Needs Youth Club, also known as Brightlights, has recently received a grant from the Leus Family Foundation to support their work with young people with special needs in the Runnymede area.

The club is for children aged 5-13 years with special needs in Runnymede and surrounding areas. The children have disabilities ranging from autism, Asperger’s, Downs and moderate to severe learning difficulties, with some of them requiring one-to-one care. 

Established in 1996, children with varying learning and physical disabilities can come to the club every Thursday evening for two hours during term time. 

The youth club is known for providing a vibrant programme that includes the use of the soft play area, crafts and external outings, trips to places like the Isle of Wight, Disneyland Paris, Spain, Lapland UK, Paultons Park, Beale Park, and Legoland. 

The club also holds a Christmas party every year where the children receive a visit and presents from Father Christmas. Easter eggs are also received. 

Some of these activities have not been possible during the pandemic, but Brightlights has strived to support families during this time.

The charity arranged two trips to Heron Lake which allowed the children to take part in water sports and activities which they greatly enjoyed. These trips also gave the members and families the opportunity to meet up and see each other, which was most needed during this difficult time.

Lucy O’Neill, the chair of Brightlights, welcomed the contribution from the Leus Family Foundation, saying: “We are here to provide fun and recreation for young people with special needs, which can also play a helpful respite role for their parents and carers. 

We are a safe environment for children who might have difficulty accessing other facilities within the local borough.

Our base at Egham Orbit Leisure Centre enables the use of the soft play area, arts and crafts activities, books and toys from our toy library. We occasionally hold family and friends evenings when parents and carers can meet and discuss family matters. 

The contribution from the Leus Family Foundation will help us to keep bringing this fun and support to children and their families and we’re very grateful.”

Dmitry Leus, the founder of the Leus Family Foundation, adds: “We are delighted to support Brightlights. Our foundation’s focus this year is very much on helping children and families bounce back from what we know has been a tough and isolating year for many.

Young people with special needs and their families have felt the lockdown restrictions even more than most, so it is a priority for us to bring fun, learning, connection and community support to them via Brightlights’ excellent programme.”

To find out more about Leus Family Foundation and the other projects and initiatives it has supported, visit the website.

Source: GetSurrey.co.uk

Brixton childrens’ fencing sessions resume with support from the Leus Family Foundation

Brixton childrens’ fencing sessions resume with support from the Leus Family Foundation


Junior fencing began again at the Brixton Fencing Club on 21 April after sporting lessons had to pause during the pandemic. The Imperium Sessions, which are free lessons offered to local school children, also restarted on 23 April.

The Imperium Sessions are designed to encourage participation by children from the who might not otherwise have access to a sport like fencing. These sessions are funded by the Leus Family Foundation, founded by Dmitry Leus, former European fencing champion.

Some flexibility has been needed to get the children back into their sport as the lockdown has eased. Brixton Fencing Club’s usual venue in the Recreation Centre is still being used as a food bank and so the fencing lessons have been moved to 5-a-side football pitch.

The Fencing Club say that this temporary venue has been a good enough substitute with the lower numbers that lessons may accommodate at this stage in the UK’s lifting of the lockdown.

Chris Tidmarsh QC, Committee Chair of the Brixton Fencing Club, explained:

“Before 21 April we ran online exercise classes which worked well, but the juniors are clearly delighted to be back in person to renew their techniques and their friendships.

We still have to observe many requirements such as social distancing, risk checks and attendance of COVID officer at every session, but the children’s enthusiasm makes it all worthwhile.”

Dmitry Leus, who is also Honorary President and Patron of the Brixton Fencing Club, commented on his foundation’s support for the drive to get local school children back to their free sessions:

“The pandemic has been especially hard on the youngest members of our society, especially with months of in-person schooling missed.  We know the lockdown hit the most vulnerable the hardest.

For our Foundation to help in any small way to get kids exercising, building confidence and learning the skills and discipline that we gain from sport – for me that is incredibly meaningful.

Fencing transformed my own life as a child and I love to see the same impact taking place with children in London.”

Chris Tidmarsh QC added:

“None of this would be possible without the sterling support of Dmitry and the staff at the Brixton Recreation Centre.  Dmitry’s sponsorship of the Imperium Sessions allows us to offer free fencing lessons to local school children.

Also, when our Fencing Club faced difficulties during the pandemic, as our expenses exceeded our income, Dmitry’s Foundation stood firmly by our side offering financial support to keep our community sporting association going.”

Dmitry Leus: ‘It is a joy to help – this is not an easy time to be young’

Dmitry Leus: ‘It is a joy to help – this is not an easy time to be young’

From children’s hospitals to fallen police officers to ‘Buzzy’ pain distraction, Dmitry Leus’s foundation helps dozens of good causes. It’s been quite a journey for the entrepreneur and former European fencing champion…

Despite growing up in humble circumstances in 1970s Turkmenistan – then part of the Soviet Union – Dmitry Leus’s childhood was rich in adventure and imbued with a strong sense of community. So Leus, founder and CEO of London-based property developer Imperium Investments, understands better than most the importance of supporting and inspiring children and young people, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds – indeed, he founded the Leus Family Foundation to do just that.

Recently awarded official charitable status by the Charity Commission for England and Wales, the foundation’s work has become even more important during the Covid-19 pandemic as experts warn that a generation of children, particularly those from poorer households, could see their life chances negatively impacted by the privations they are currently suffering.

“This is not an easy time to be young,” says Leus, father to four sons. “Youngsters in the UK are learning at home with no in-person schooling, unemployment figures are rising and those job losses are impacting families. What a tough time to be leaving school or university and trying to make your way into a career. I empathise with young people at this time.”

One cause that is close to Leus’s heart is encouraging children to take part in sport. As a teenager, he was in the Turkmen National Fencing Team, becoming European champion at the age of 17.

“My business mindset was created in the gymnasiums and competition halls of my teenage years and the spirit that it forged is what helps me through all other aspects of my life,” he says. “This is how the character is formed.”

Leus is patron and honorary president of Brixton Fencing Club in southeast London, which is funding free fencing lessons for children from low-income families and organising tournaments.

“I want to get more kids involved – kids from all walks of life,” Leus says. “I believe that there is a future European, maybe even Olympic, champion in Brixton and I want to find them.”

Full House: Leus at a fundraising event for the St George’s Hospital Charity at the House of Commons

The foundation, which Leus leads alongside directors Michael Wynne-Parker KCLJ and Manjit K Gill MBE, also has a longstanding relationship with St George’s Hospital Charity which supports the work of St George’s Hospital in Tooting, south London. In March 2019, Leus funded child-friendly pain distraction devices for every child’s bed in St George’s – each Buzzy, as the devices are called, comes in cheerful, cartoonish form, for example a bumble bee or an insect, and, when placed against the skin, vibrates to distract attention from blood being taken or injections administered.

At the height of the pandemic, in December 2020, a new look Children’s Garden was unveiled at St George’s, funded by the foundation and bringing some much-needed colour in the bleakest of midwinters. Play areas have been extended and improved with a new slide and better wheelchair access, while a new seating area is being installed.

“This garden will lift spirits and hopefully provide moments of joy and relaxation between treatments,” Leus says.

As well as strengthening existing relationships through the pandemic, the Leus Family Foundation has added to its philanthropic portfolio, forging new collaborations.

It responded to urgent appeals from charities for the Royal Free Hospital, Princess Royal University Hospital and St George’s Hospital to support doctors and nurses on the frontline through care packages, mental health provision and the creation of respite spaces for staff. Leus also donated to Runnymede Food Bank, which he visited in May 2020.

He is also an ambassador for HealthProm, a UK-based charity working to support vulnerable children and their families in eastern Europe, Central Asia and Afghanistan, and Patron of Binti International, a charity whose vision is to ensure every girl and woman in the world has menstrual dignity. And, as a policeman’s son, he feels a personal affiliation to Care of Police Survivors (COPS), a charity dedicated to supporting the families of police officers and staff who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

The Leus Family Foundation is now looking for further opportunities to help where and when it’s needed and, in 2021, plans to bolster its organisation with people who have extensive experience in the charity sector.

“Having received official charitable status affirms our commitment to our causes and those we work with in the future,” Leus says. “It is a joy that our foundation is able to help so many young people and it is so rewarding to see the direct benefit that our support has brought to their lives.”

For a full list of charity partners and further information on projects undertaken by The Leus Family Foundation, please visit here

Source: The Times & The Sunday Times