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Success in skills sharing: PhDs and Caribbean food

By Selsabil Amine

We started The Match back in May to help small creative businesses access vital support from skilled furloughed volunteers during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Now, we’re loving hearing the stories about how volunteers and businesses have connected, and the support they’ve received so far. Read on to hear how a new community-led initiative accessed fundraising support through The Match.

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, Echo member 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 heartwarming 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.”

At The Match, a project powered by Echo, we believe that sharing skills makes businesses and professionals better collaborators. As a volunteer, Catalina said it was “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: “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.

Selsabil is an MSc student at Loughborough University London. She is currently a communications volunteer with The Match and is researching crisis communications in the political world. She is passionate about public relations and enjoys learning about how effective communication strategies are created and received.