about us

A local network with global reach
A local network with global reach
A local network with global reach
our story

In 2010, Echo found its feet as a grassroots project in Hackney, East London. We met in person, creating a space for local people to start small and swap skills, an hour for an hour.

Pretty soon, businesses wanted in on the action – local theatres traded tickets for front of house support, whilst yoga teachers exchanged classes for venue space.

Twelve years on, and Echo has established itself as a local network with a global reach.

We’ve built an accessible platform designed for people to exchange time and skills in place of pounds and pence, championing a currency rooted in values of equality and reciprocity.


Listening to the needs of our community to shape our direction, we opened up the project so that businesses could join too.

In 2013 and with the support of Nesta, the London Legacy Development Corporation, and several hundred members in the network, we decided to expand our reach beyond just Hackney.

A growing community

We’re now an online network advocating for offline connections, with a diverse membership spanning corporate boardrooms to local back gardens.

Our members have exchanged thousands of hours of skills and talents, whilst our programmes have supported hundreds of budding entrepreneurs to launch and grow impactful projects and businesses.


In 2020 we joined forces with Civic, a social enterprise sharing our vision to help develop and scale civic innovations within communities.

Together, we are working on making our digital platform and methodology shareable, creating a tool that nourishes a culture of creativity, entrepreneurship, and impact.

our team

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Stuart Duncan
Managing Director

Stuart is responsible for the smooth day to day running of Echo, partnerships and fundraising. He oversees Echo's strategy as we bring Echo to new locations in the UK and globally.

Sara Kärpänen
Programmes and Communications Manager

Sara leads on all aspects of our enterprise programmes and communications. She is also a poet, journalist and author and founder of Women of the Wick.

Veronica Asenso Afriyie
Social Media and Community Activator (Olympic Park Hub)

Veronica leads on our social media and supports Echo members across East London. She is multi-disciplinary artist and social entrepreneur.

Tom Fraser-Ivens
Partnerships and Community Activator (Park Royal Hub)

Tom leads on new partnerships and supports Echo members in West London. He is a freelance Assistant Director and studying to become a psychotherapist.


Echo has been recognised by a number of publications as a platform with a promise and a purpose. Working with exchanges rather than transactions has created a community, and we’re not the first to say it.

Our Purpose

We see a future of radical collaboration and grassroots community, an Echo network of innovative, supportive, and creative people and businesses connected by a new currency. It’s time.

echo news

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