Who we are

Hackney Roots brings together a network of trusted freelancers and organisations to create and grow projects rooted in passion and compassion. The independent but connected team includes - in order of appearance:

The marketing, partnerships and business experience of Marc Gosschalk (Founder, Freelance)

The designs, colours and creativity of Coline L'Achiver (Freelance)

The multi-disciplinary know-how and resourcefulness of Abdul Saboor (Freelance)

The artistic experience of world music pioneer Moussa Sow (Africa Fete London)

The storytelling and videography of Bamba Diop (Kerdoff Productions)

The ruthless efficiency of growth hacker George Taylor (Freelance)

...and the collective conscience of the Hackney Social Enterprise Partnership.

If you would like to hear more about being part of the team, please get in touch with marc@hackneyroots.org

How it started

My connection to Hackney runs deeper than having just lived in the area for 10 years or so. Take Dalston for example. There's a raw energy, an air of creativity, and an underlying sense of cosmopolitanism - no doubt the draw for my grandparents also, who lived a stone's throw from Gillett Square for one year before duty called them home to South Africa. But in the words of a staggering stranger at the Vortex Jazz Bar - 'that's the thing about Dalston... you can travel the world without leaving'. And that's just Dalston.

Hackney is filled with culture, creativity and chance encounters, but some of the best bits need a bit of digging. Places like Cine-Real, the 16mm film club, where a fiver gets you an authentic cinema experience with Umit. Or Restoration Station, which helps people in recovery from drug addiction by training them to upcycle furniture donations into beautiful bargains. Or Founders and Coders, the free coding academy, where students bring inspiring projects to life as part of their training. Or the Better Health Bakery. Bikeworks. Black Cat Café. Hackney Herbal. Goodgym. Growing Communities. Kaffa Coffee. Kairaasi. Made In Hackney. Outdoor People. The Tuck Inn. The list goes on and on.

Umit in the brilliant short film 'The Way of the Dodo' from Cine-Real co-founder Liam St-Pierre

Umit in the brilliant short film 'The Way of the Dodo' from Cine-Real co-founder Liam St-Pierre

Most of those listed above are not-for-profit social enterprises in corporate structure. But what shines through is that they are all not-for-profit in essence. They are rooted in passion, compassion, and a genuine connection to their staff, customers and wider community. Some are flourishing, some are getting the help they need, some need all the help they can get. But overall, it feels like traditional businesses have more to gain by learning from and working with these organisations than the other way around.

So in 2015 I left a fruitful career with various leading digital media, marketing and research organisations to support and showcase organisations like these, and to share some of their passion, values and creativity with the old business world. And I'm in great company, working with and being gratefully supported by some amazing people and partners along the way.

Whatever stage you're at, we'd love to hear about what makes you tick, and to see if we can put our experience and connections to good use. So please get in touch, and if we can't help, there's a good chance we know someone that can.

Marc Gosschalk, Founder, Hackney Roots