Alef Trust

The Alef Trust

Wirral, United Kingdom

‘An orientation towards the personal and collective transformation of how we interact with the web of life has been steadily increasing in recent years, accelerated by our awareness of unsustainable systemic patterns and their consequences.’
Les Lancaster, Alef Trust co-founder

The Alef Trust was founded in 2012 when Les Lancaster, emeritus professor of transpersonal psychology and Jessica Bockler PHD, applied theatre practitioner and transpersonal psychologist created an entirely new postgraduate programme exploring the question ‘What is our inner psychology and how can we grow?’

Today a staff team of 19 provide a number of accredited postgraduate and personal enrichment programmes to students across the world. With a syllabus created in response to the growing need for sustainable and ethical development, Alef students build their intellectual and experiential understanding through the study of science and wisdom from Western and Eastern perspectives in psychology, consciousness and human potential.



We first met Les and Jessica back in 2013 when sankalpa founder Ruth Layton began studying the Alef MSc in consciousness, spirituality and transpersonal psychology. An intense three years of study left Ruth feeling inspired by the vision and impact of the programme. As Alef graduates develop a deeper connectedness with the earth’s ecosystem and a broader understanding of human consciousness and culture — we were keen to widen access to the educational programme. In 2014 we began funding Alef, enabling them to offer scholarships to people lacking in financial resources but abundant in promise; individuals with clear potential to excel at academic study and apply their learning in socially relevant fields.

‘Being able to offer scholarships is worth more than the money. It shows that we care.’

By 2015 Alef had grown and was successfully enabling a global audience to access high quality, personalised education. Although the course was attracting students, it was clear that improved marketing was required if Alef was to grow a sustainable flow of applicants. We arranged a coaching session to review Alef’s marketing and future ambition, here it became clear that a new website was required to meet modern necessity. We agreed to fund development of the new site.

‘After receiving guidance, we went to a marketing agency and spoke passionately about our vision. It was there that our eyes were opened to the possibilities of how to operate in this current world.’

With a new website in place applications and enquiries increased by 100%. Les and Jessica now had a much larger cohort of students. Increasing demand meant that Alef was becoming closer to being financially sustainable, however the responsibilities attached to both providing and administering a growing academic programme meant that the duo were becoming increasingly overwhelmed with work. Recognising the need to streamline the organisation and allow Les and Jessica to focus their time on strategy and academic operations, we agreed to fund two administrative posts — a business development manager and an executive assistant. 

‘We were becoming too busy, overworked. I’m an academic, not a financial person. Then along came our knight in shining armour once again. We went through an exercise to examine all of our tasks and responsibilities, this process helped us to clearly identify what was required before we got more assistance in place.’ 



Today the Alef Trust is a financially sustainable enterprise. Les and Jessica now lead a team of 19 people to deliver a range of online academic and personal development programmes to students in over 40 countries. Alef’s postgraduate courses are validated by Liverpool John Moores University, one of the largest higher education institutions in the UK and students consistently praise the quality of both the course content and the overall learning experience.

We chose to invest in Alef because we could see that Les and Jessica had the vision and ability to do something great, they just needed a helping hand to get there. As Alef grew, our support flexed around the changing needs of their business — supporting them through both coaching and funding to become the sustainable enterprise that they are today. Although Alef is no longer reliant on our financial support — we are delighted to continue widening access to their transformative education and community programmes through continued scholarship funding.

‘The most effective way of being charitable is allowing someone to stand on their own two feet and that is what sankalpa has done for us. It goes beyond the money — I’ve always felt supported; sankalpa understood our values, shared our vision and believed in what could be done.’
Les Lancaster, Alef Trust co-founder

sankalpa has enabled us to thrive and become a beacon for transpersonal psychology, building a community of like-minded people from around the world who want to make a difference to their communities, contributing to human flourishing worldwide.

We are living at a time of seismic shifts taking place in our society, with the values traditionally associated with religion requiring realignment and spiritual questions impinging potently on all walks of life. With the help of sankalpa, the Alef Trust is able to play a part in facilitating these shifts, fulfilling our mission to nurture the potential for transformation and greater harmony in and amongst all people and communities, with the aim to make a better world.

Jessica Bockler, founding director of The Alef Trust

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