** If you fancy volunteering with the Silver Surfers, we have new dates including Monday 06 Nov, 20 Nov, 04 Dec, 18 Dec, 08 Jan, 22 Jan, 11am-1pm in Hackney Wick – Scroll down to the bottom for full details **
The Echo Community Fund
At the beginning of the year, we launched our Echo Community Fund, a new grants programme to support amazing community projects in East London but with a little Echo twist.
Instead of giving away pots of cash, we awarded bundles of Echoes to projects that could be used to buy the skills and services required to make their projects flourish.
Over 7 months, we helped five passionate individuals tap hundreds of hours of expertise from our talented community, with your support. This included everyone imagineable from strategists to graphic designers, photographers to web developers, and everything in between.
Incredibly, more than 70 Echo members lent their support over those months, providing 270+ hours of support to our chosen projects. We were blown away, to say the least!
The projects ranged from Flames Basketball who support young East Londoners to gain confidence and employment beyond the court; Lisa and her East Village Playgroup for parents and toddlers living near Stratford; Qavi Reyez an aspiring photographer from the Olympic Youth Legacy Panel; and Tech Tribe UK who bring together young children from across East London to learn about new digital technology from passionate local volunteers.
The fifth and final project was a real gem and surprised us all. We weren’t sure it was going to work, but it blossomed into a beautiful project that made a real difference to ageing residents living in and around Hackney Wick.
It’s an area going through a considerable change where every inch of land is being redeveloped at quite an alarming rate. Although not intentional this has led to a disconnect between the elderly population and the new creatives/residents moving into the area. In fact, it’s safe to say neither were aware the other existed.
Echo was keen to see if we could bridge this gap and have a positive impact by bringing these two very different groups of locals together. So, together with the Trowbridge Senior Citizens Club, we set up the Trowbridge Silver Surfers for some sizzling intergenerational learning.
The Trowbridge Silver Surfers
Powered by Echo, we brought together local Over 60s and paired them with Echo volunteers for 1 to 1 IT classes at the Trowbridge Senior Citizens Club, which has been serving the elderly in Hackney Wick for over 70 years.
With a grant from Hackney Council, Echo helped Chairman Gordon purchase his first 5 laptops and we drew in Echo members from every direction to craft a series of classes from scratch.
Echo member and learner experience design expert ELT Jam helped shape the syllabus and run the sessions. Design and brand consultant Adam Mitchinson created a beautiful logo (see above) to use on his flyers and posters (see below), handed out by other Echo members at local doctors surgeries, cafes and bus stops. We even rented spare laptops, hired photographers, brought in caterers, and recruited all our volunteers using only Echoes.
The first class took place in April, before the weekly Bingo and we welcomed our first group of 7 Silver Surfers and 7 volunteers. It was humble beginnings but it worked and word began to spread and the classes began to grow week on week.
By the end, the Senior Citizens Club was filled to the brim with 23 Silver Surfers and 27 volunteers and over the 12 weeks, we had 38 Echo volunteers join us. It warmed the cockles, to say the least!
People came from all walks of life, of all ages (16-88 years), friendships began to form and stories were shared. It was truly magical. It helped reduce social isolation for some, for others it boosted their confidence and self-esteem, and for one of our Silver Surfers, Bella “it made the idea of learning fun again”.
Now, we’re excited to say the classes are starting up again. The Wick Award who champion community initiatives in Hackney Wick has kindly awarded Gordon some funding. The Surfers could not be happier! We’re doing our bit too and have just recruited Echo member Alison (top right below) to organise the classes but we need your help again too.
Yup, you guessed it, WE NEED MORE VOLUNTEERS!
Can You Volunteer?
On any of the Monday’s below, 11am-1pm at The Trowbridge Senior Citizens Club
06 Nov / 20 Nov / 04 Dec / 18 Dec / 08 Jan / 22 Jan
You’ll be paid 2 Echoes for every class you volunteer. If you can only do one, we’d still love to your help.
If you’d like to join us, please email firstname.lastname@example.org