Resources and support to help you survive and thrive during Covid-19 COVID-19 Find out more Close
  • Banner

    The Park
    Community CHEST

    Combining cash grants with crowdsourced skills, talents and expertise from the Echo network to support local community-led projects

    Applications closed
  • Banner

    The Park
    Community CHEST

    Combining cash grants with crowdsourced skills, talents and expertise from the Echo network to support local community-led projects

    Applications closed

The Park Community Chest awards small grants of up to £2,000 and combines them with crowdsourced skills, talents and expertise from our brilliant network to support grassroots community initiatives.

By combining cash grants and the Echo currency, we supercharge the impact and help provide critical support to projects having a big impact on their local communities here in East London.

We work with each successful project over a 12 month period to develop their strategy, capacity and networks and kickstart thriving, sustainable projects that have a lasting local impact.

Partners

By pooling cash grants from our Park partners and combining them with Echo’s unique wraparound support, we’ve created a first-of-its-kind approach to grant distribution that maximises community impact across the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and surrounding areas.

Made possible with generous support from:

How It Works

With cash grants of up to £2,000 to award to our projects, as well as, a generous pot of Echoes to access skills and services from the marketplace, read on to find out how you can apply.

Apply or nominate

Nominate local projects, or apply yourself

Projects selected

Projects receive up to £2,000

Crowdsource support

Use your pot of Echoes to buy in skills and expertise from the community

Celebrate success

Our projects thrive with funding, skills and support networks

Last year's projects

Meet the projects who each received up to £2,000 and 12-months in-kind support from Echo to buy in the skills and services they needed to progress their projects.

  • Picture

Esana, David & Shakirat

Vine Connect

David and Esana have run a successful community group for the last 7 years for families in Hackney, Newham and Tower Hamlets. When it outgrew their living room, rather than turn people away they decided to pay out of their own pockets to hire a larger space at local community centre Hub67 in Hackney Wick.

That led them to set up a new grassroots project called Vine Connect. They are passionate about helping young people (age 17 to 25) living in 3 of the most deprived boroughs in London to find suitable employment, training or to start on their own career path.

By raising awareness and signposting young people to the organisations and opportunities already available to them, including paid apprenticeships and free workshops and courses, they hope to decrease the unemployment rate amongst the younger population, improve community relation between young residents and local businesses, and encourage young people away from gang activity.  

Queer Newham

Queer Newham creates a safe space for LGBTQ+ residents, their families, supporters and allies to come together and explore the gender and sexual diversity that exists not only around the world but in the borough of Newham.

Thanks to the grant and Echo’s support, they launched Queer Cinema, a monthly screening of LGBTQ+ short films and documentaries with special guests and interactive discussions.

The first session took place during LGBT History Month and 9 more screenings of outstanding LGBTQ+ documentaries and short films followed each month at Stratford Library.

Each screening was followed by the opportunity to meet others and explore the different topics raised in the films with guest speakers and local role models from different cultures, religions and beliefs who are invited to share their own journey with their identity.

Queer Newham aims to challenge prejudice and negative stereotypes by creating a safe space where people are encouraged to be themselves, offering resources on how to navigate a world that still struggles to accommodate difference. 

  • Picture

Chloe Rivers

East Village Parent Club

The East Village Parent Club (EVPC) is a group for new parents who may be feeling low, lost or lonely, to come together to support one another in East Village in Stratford.

It’s for new mums and dads who would like to get out of the house, but not go too far and are keen to meet the neighbours on their doorstep – creative parents, single parents, gay parents, amazing babies, future friends, completely inclusive.

After recently having a baby herself and realising there was a lack of parent groups in her local area, Chloe felt she’d take the initiative to come up with something, rather than wait for someone else to do it.

It started out small but the group keeps grew quickly moving into The Hall, a new community centre in the heart of the village providing a welcoming space for new parents who are feeling overwhelmed and lonely to pop along for a coffee and a chat.

  • Picture

Katherine Igoe-Ewer

The Committee E20

The Committee is a programme set up by The Yard Theatre in Hackney Wick for 15-19-year-olds who are invited to shape the performance world to change the future of theatre for young people.

They meet fortnightly at The Yard, London’s livest theatre to learn creative producing skills, build friendships and creative networks and to genuinely lead on a series of authentic projects with The Yard’s producing team.

Their project was to work with The Yard to open a brand new community centre in East Village called The Hall. Rather than simply running another tired consultation exercise, they tasked The Committee to design and deliver a creative engagement and research project to ensure The Hall met the needs of young people living in the area.

The Committee members learnt crucial skills, training with industry professionals whilst building their confidence. 

  • Picture

Laura Wyatt O’Keeffe

The Palace Club

The Palace Club is a free social club for over 65s in the borough of Hackney who find themselves increasingly isolated and lonely. The club meets every Tuesday, 10.30-1.30pm at Chats Palace in Homerton, providing a stimulating and enjoyable class designed to bring the elders together and improve their well-being.

At the end of each meet up, the elders all sit down together to share a delicious, nutritious home-cooked lunch and enjoy the entertainment provided by local project partners.

Underpinning the project is a volunteer programme aimed at local people, who are invited to support run the club and socialise providing an opportunity for cross-generational interaction, support and learning.

Who Can Apply

We are keen to hear from a wide range of ideas and initiatives doing all kinds of different things. Even if your project is in its early stages, we’d still love to hear from you

Projects need to demonstrate that they

  • Benefit communities 1-2 miles from Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
  • Are community-led and respond to a genuine community need
  • Can demonstrate clearly why the funding is needed

Support one or more of our three priorities

  • Improving people's knowledge
  • Improving skills and experience
  • Providing innovative solutions to social challenges

FAQs

We are keen to hear from a wide range of ideas and initiatives doing all kinds of different things. Even if your project is in its early stages, we’d still love to hear from you

What is Echo and how does the Echo currency work?

Echo is a marketplace without money, where you can buy in the skills and services you need using the Echo currency, instead of pounds and pence. 1 Echo buys you 1 hour of skill or service. Find out more about ‘How Echo Works’.

What can I spend my pot of Echoes on?

You can spend your Echoes on hours of skills, services, and expertise you need from the Echo marketplace to help your community project thrive. You may need a photographer, help with graphic design, project management or everything in between. We’ll be on hand to help you connect with the right people.

What can I spend the £2,000 cash grant on?

We’ll support you to access as many high-quality skills and services as you can from the Echo network using your Echoes. The cash grant can contribute to any services, materials or expertise you can’t source with your Echoes. We’ll work with you to co-create a spending plan to help you get the most from the overall grant.

I have already received some funding, can I still apply?

We ideally want to support projects that are in their early stages. If you have received more than £10,000 for the project prior to this application then do get in touch before applying – stuart@economyofhours.com.

Do I need to have a separate bank account?

Yes, ideally you’ll have a bank account separate to your personal one with at least two signatories. If you don’t have this yet, you can still apply and we can help you with the process of getting set up.

Do I need to have a constitution and/or committee?

Not necessarily. We appreciate that smaller, early-stage projects may not yet have full governance structures in place. If you have them already, that’s a bonus. If you don’t, this is something we can support you with.

Are you looking to support new or existing projects?

First and foremost, we are looking for the right projects that will excite and delight the local community and respond to a local need. This could be a standalone project run by an existing organisation or a new project led by an individual, handful of residents or community group.

Are you only supporting organisations/groups working within the Olympic Park?

No, we’re keen to support projects that are located in or benefiting people from the following local authorities Newham, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest and/or Hackney. This also includes the following postcodes – E3, E5, E9, E10, E15 and/or E20.

Still got further questions? Please contact, stuart@economyofhours.com

  • Banner

    Last Year's
    Projects

    East Village Playgroup

    Lisa received coaching and training to help her work up her ideas for the growth of her parent and toddler playgroup. Echo strengthened her local network of supporters and helped her to form a committee, write a constitution and set up a bank account so she was eligible for funding. The playgroup now supports more than 50 local families.

  • Banner

    Last Year's
    Projects

    Flames Basketball

    Joshua received practical help with photography, design and copywriting, business coaching and training, as well as strategic support to help him define his focus and fundraising approach. Flames now has its own website for the first time to help expand their family-friendly basketball sessions that empower players beyond the court.

  • Banner

    Last Year's
    Projects

    Trowbridge Silver Surfers

    Gordon received help to set up the Silver Surfers, which supports Over 60s to learn IT skills. Echo members helped him with design and marketing, buying and setting up laptops, designing a 12-week programme, employing a volunteer coordinator and delivering 1:1 IT support taught by local volunteers. The project has now supported 48 over 60s to learn digital skills and it keeps growing.

  • Banner

    Last Year's
    Projects

    Tech Tribe UK

    Kiran received business strategy support to help him refine the Tech Tribe UK model, coaching to support him as a social entrepreneur and access to venues so he could grow his programme of events and workshops encouraging primary school children across East London to get passionate about technology through imaginative learning.

Last year

4 Projects
81 Echo Members
269 Hours of support delivered
7 Months