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Do you have an idea to uplift your community?

We’re looking for East Londoners with early-stage projects or great ideas for uplifting your neighbourhood.

You’ll join a 6-month journey with a collective of local changemakers, to help you grow your idea and make a positive impact in your local area.

Promising projects will also be able to access up to £2,000 of funding to help sustain and grow their initiatives into the future.

⭐ Applications now closed ⭐


Made possible with generous support from:

How It Works

Get access to 6-months of expert workshops, training and peer mentorship to help you build your skillset and grow your project.

You’ll also have the backing of 5,000+ Echo members to put you and your project centre stage and a generous pot of Echoes to access the skills, services and help you need from our influential network.

Apply to join

Submit your project or idea to uplift your local community by Fri 20th August

Projects selected

Start your journey, receive up to £2,000 seed funding and join a collective of local changemakers

Shape your journey

You choose your own fit for purpose pathway guided by the Echo team

Collective growth

Support each other, collaborate and grow together

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 in Newham, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest and/or Hackney
  • Are community-led and respond to a genuine community need
  • Have lived experience or existing grassroots experience of these social issues

Support one or more of our three priorities

  • Improving skills, knowledge and experience of people living in your neighbourhood
  • Providing innovative solutions to social challenges experienced by your local community
  • Strengthening and building future community resilience post Covid-19


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.

Please read the FAQs before applying.

Who can apply?

We are open to all kinds of projects and ideas, even if they are still early stage.

The only criteria are that:

• Your project benefits communities in Newham, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest, and/or Hackney.

• You can demonstrate that your project will meet local needs

• You have lived experience or existing grassroots experience of these social issues

You do not need to be set up as a formal group or organisation to apply – in fact, we can help you to do this as part of your journey.

You need to be over 18 years old to participate and we ask that you are open to collaboration, peer to peer learning, and can commit to the full 6 months.

How do I apply?

To apply to join Uplift, please complete the application form via the link on this page by midnight Friday 20th August.

By clicking ‘Apply now’ you’ll be redirected to the application form hosted on Typeform.

You’ll be asked a few initial questions about you and the project or idea you would like to submit.

We’ll then ask you to answer this simple, three-part question:

1 – Why do you want to be part of Uplift?

2 – What is your project or idea to uplift your community?

3 – What does #community mean to you?

More information on how to answer these questions is available in the application form.

What is the deadline for submissions?

The deadline for applications is midnight Friday 20th August.

Applications must be submitted via Typeform in full by this date to be accepted.

If you require support with your application please don’t hesitate to contact us –

When will Uplift start and end?

Uplift will start in early September 2021 and will run for 6 months until February 2022, with a short break over Christmas.

Who else will be invited to take part?

The cohort will be made up of 10 East London changemakers all keen to elevate their community projects or ideas to positively impact the lives of people in their neighbourhood.

With the help of our Uplift Steering Group (see below), we’ll carefully curate the cohort to ensure its balanced, diverse and inclusive whilst maximising opportunities for collaboration, knowledge sharing and mutual support.

What do I get over the 6 months?

You’ll join a collective of talented East London changemakers and be invited to shape your own journey with the Echo team, so it’s fit for purpose for your needs.

The 6-months will include access to expert-led workshops to help you build the core skills you need to make your project a success – including fundraising, branding, project planning, partnerships, social justice, leadership and much more.

Plus, there’ll be monthly peer-mentoring sessions, working collectively to solve challenges, share opportunities and maximise your impact together.

Echo’s peer to peer approach is our proven model for supporting community leaders to overcome challenges, improve their performance and set their projects up for future success.

We’ll also gift you a generous pot of Echoes to access the skills, services and help you need from 5,000+ Echo members ready to back your idea and our influential network of partners.

This could be anything from mentorship to graphic design and photography, branding to bid writing and everything in between.

Will sessions be delivered online or in person?

We expect sessions will be a blend of online and offline (depending on government legislation at the time).

We may host some sessions online to make it easy to fit it into your day, but we’ll certainly get the cohort together in person for some of the sessions.

When will sessions take place?

Where possible, we’ll take the preferences of the cohort members into account when selecting a time for the sessions.

Sessions may take place in the morning, lunchtime or evening depending on everyone’s availability. We’ll work with the group to understand what times work best, so everyone can attend.

Is there a charge?

Uplift is fully funded, so there is no charge to take part, but we ask for maximum commitment to the collective growth and that you attend the full 6 months.

Do I have to attend the whole 6 months?

Yes, if selected to join Uplift, you will need to commit to participating for the full 6-months.

We’ll encourage you to attend all the sessions to get the most out of the experience. The more time you can commit, the richer the experience you will have.

How do I access the funding?

We have seed funding of up to £2,000 available to support projects to sustain and grow beyond the life of the 6-month journey. These will be available to all participating projects.

During the application process, you will be asked to outline briefly the types of costs you might encounter during the 6 months and beyond. Don’t worry this won’t be set in stone but does help us understand your needs. 

What can I spend the funding on?

The funding can contribute towards any costs you may encounter during and even after the 6-months including but not limited to staff costs, volunteer expenses, services, materials or expertise.

If helpful, we can support you to create a spending plan, so you can get the most from the funding if that’s helpful.

We’ll also support you to use your Echoes (1 Echo = 1 hour) to access the skills, services and help you need from the Echo community to help your funding stretch further.

There may also be opportunities to collectively pool your funding with other project leaders to share resources and get a better deal e.g. local flyer drops, training or sharing printing costs, etc.

What is Echo and how does the Echo currency work?

Echo is a community where people help each other by sharing skills and talents. There’s no money involved –  we use a currency called Echoes, where 1 Echo = 1 hour of your time.

As part of your journey, you’ll be gifted Echo currency to help you access the networks, skills and help you need to get your project or idea off the ground. 

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 community to help your project thrive.

You may need a photographer, help with graphic design, marketing, project management or everything in between. We’ll be on hand to help you connect with the right people.

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 –

Do I need to have a separate bank account?

Yes, ideally you’ll have a bank account separate from 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 led by passionate people, motivated to make their project a success and have a positive impact on the lives of those in their community.

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 projects and ideas working within Newham, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest or Hackney?

Yes, we’re keen to support projects and ideas that are located in or benefiting people from the following local authorities Newham, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest and/or Hackney.

If you have a project based in another area, there may be other ways we can support you. We recommend joining the Echo community to hear about the latest opportunities on offer to our members.

How do you make decisions and decide who gets selected?

Echo believes that for local change to be effective, it needs to support local people and organisations to thrive, and communities need to be at the centre of any initiative, from start to finish.

To put this into action, we founded the Uplift Steering Group with the vision of amplifying resident, partner and other key local voices to have a say in how it is designed and who is accepted as a participant.

The group has representatives from the London Legacy Development Corporation, Lendlease, Here East, Triathlon Homes, Community Links, Rosetta Arts, Vine Connect, Queer Newham, Councillors and local residents.

The Steering Group will meet again in August once all the applications are in to shortlist and guide which projects are invited to join the cohort.

Still got further questions? Please contact,

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    Last Year's

    David and Esana, Vine Connect

    David and Esana received practical help with photography, design and copywriting, business coaching and training, as well as strategic support to help them define their focus and fundraising approach. Vine Connect now has its own website and an award-winning brand to help expand its work helping young people in London’s four most deprived boroughs.

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    Last Year's

    David and Esana, Vine Connect

    "Echo has been instrumental to the growth of our project. We have grown from an idea into a social enterprise that is having a positive impact on young people’s lives in our community"

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    Last Year's

    Chloe, East Village Parents Club

    Chloe secured a reliable home for her group supporting new mums and dads feeling low, lost or lonely. She also received help setting up a volunteer programme powered by local parents and help to design a new visual identity. Chloe used the funding to become a qualified first aider and hypnobirthing instructor, get her DBS check, and buy soft mats and toys to create a welcoming environment.

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    Last Year's

    Chloe, East Village Parents Club

    “Echo has been a real support. When I need help or I’m stuck for ideas they always give me their time and help. East Village Parent Club definitely wouldn’t be where it is now without them.”

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    Last Year's

    Calu, Queer Newham

    “Echo has been extremely supportive and has provided key resources for some of our most valuable work raising awareness of LGBTQA+ issues in Newham.”

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    Last Year's

    Calu, Queer Newham

    Calu received social media support, crowdfunding training and professional photography to help raise the profile of their Queer Cinema screenings in Newham, tapping into a network of Echo volunteers to make each a success. Calu used the funding to secure reliable venues, buy film licences, print promotional materials, and pay travel expenses for LGBTQA+ guest speakers.

Previous chapter

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