Powered by Echo
Facilitating skill exchange in East London since 2014

Initiated by Echo, Loughborough University London and Hackney Wick & Fish Island Creative Enterprise Zone

The Match

Connecting skilled furloughed professionals with the businesses who need them. Interested in requesting or offering support? Sign up here

What is The Match?

by Sarah Henderson

Small creative businesses, who are the lifeblood of East London, are struggling for survival in the current crisis.

Meanwhile, skilled furloughed professionals are finding themselves with spare time and skills to share.

COVID-19 has created a skills gap. We fill it.

We match skilled professionals with the small businesses who need them. From business strategy to branding, The Match offers practical support in dealing with the issues small businesses face.


If you’re a skilled professional interested in volunteering…
  • You can choose to volunteer from 1 hour
  • Create a positive impact in an innovative way
  • Develop your talents and experience
If you’re a business…
  • You can access expert support across key areas of your business
  • Build your resilience, capacity, and strategy
  • All for free!

Interested? Or know someone who might be? Sign up and share this.

How does it work?

by Sarah Henderson
Tell us your skills and business needs when you sign up
  • You’ll be added to our matchmaking database, and we may also share your offer or request on Echo, our skill exchange platform
We’ll find you a Match
  • We’ll connect you when we find a match between the skills on offer and the business needs requested. You’ll get an email from us when this happens.
Get started!
  • Finally, you can start your session. We’ll be there to support you on making the most of this opportunity

Got a question? Contact us.

Sign up to The Match

by Marcelo Graciolli

If you’re a furloughed worker with time and skills to offer or a business or organisation looking for support, sign up below and we will endeavour to connect you.

Once you’ve signed up, we’ll be in touch with some simple next steps, and to make your first match.

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Success Stories

by Sarah Henderson
When CaribEats met Catalina

A few months ago, images of elderly people walking through empty supermarkets broke the nation’s heart. The question of how elderly and vulnerable people get their food became a concern. In response to this problem, a group of friends in Hackney, East London, started off with a simple, kind gesture, which turned into a community-led initiative: CaribEats.

Set up to provide warm, home cooked food to vulnerable and elderly people once a week, CaribEats was self-funded and relied on online donations. As the project grew, so did the need for funding.

So, Alison from CaribEats contacted The Match, and we connected her with Catalina, a local Hackney resident with experience in writing funding applications. When Catalina signed up to volunteer with The Match, we spotted that her skillset could be just what was needed to help a heart warming collective just around the corner. Catalina told us “The fact that we both live here and her work is for the borough made me feel a special connection to what I was doing.”

Alison and the CaribEats team

At The Match, which is a project powered by Echo, we believe that sharing skills makes businesses and professionals better collaborators. As a volunteer, Catalina found it “so empowering to use my skills on something so different yet so relevant.” This productive empowerment was also felt by Alison, who is leading CaribEats, who told us “Honestly, I couldn’t have matched with someone better if I’d picked her myself.”

We believe skills are universal, and should be shared in creative and collaborative ways. If you are a professional who would like to explore how your skills can make a big impact, sign up to volunteer with The Match.


When Counterpoise met Bree

Counterpoise is a business that knows art is a necessity, not a luxury.

Why? Because “the creative industry is central to the economy and drives innovation at all levels”, and like all essential parts of our economy, gender balance is high on our priority list.

That is why Counterpoise opened its doors in January to improve the gender balance in the creative industries.

But since the rupture of the COVID-19 pandemic, Counterpoise faced a difficult path ahead.

So, what happened next? Counterpoise met Bree, a volunteer with The Match.

Bree provided communications guidance to help Counterpoise adapt their strategy to the new COVID19 reality, and signpost toward the additional information Counterpoise needed. And it wasn’t just Counterpoise that benefited from this match.

Like Bree, volunteers at The Match are changing the way businesses navigate the social and economic crisis facing our time.

If you’re interested in being part of The Match, as a volunteer or business, do get in touch. We’ll find you a match.

Get in touch

by Sarah Henderson

If you’d like to get in touch, you can drop us an email to

The Match is run by a small team of staff and volunteers from Echo and Loughborough University London. We’ll endeavour to get back to you as quickly as we can.