On soup, social funding and speaking up…

17883814_141721979694527_6523886722717711501_nJust before Christmas I saw an article (you can read it here) that piqued my interest and got me thinking. It was about a way of bringing together different parts of the community using the lure of a bowl of soup, and raising micro funding for projects, activities and social enterprises. Always a lover of good soup and searching for a way to make a difference in the local area I contacted three friends and said, ‘What do you think?’. Remarkably, they didn’t bat an eyelid and before I knew it, Soup on the Go (Cheshire) was born.

It is such a simple concept and last Thursday, three people, representing three local projects, stood up in front of a gathering of 28 and spoke passionately about their work, dreams and plans. A vote revealed a winner who took home the door takings, refreshment money and sponsorship money.

A local community group walked away from our first Soup on the Go event with over £570 in their hand: they’ll be buying polytunnels and crops for their community kitchen garden and I am looking forward to seeing the fruits of their labours as well as hearing about the impact that will have on their local residents and community.

There are three parts of this story that I love: first of all, if you want anything doing, then find a busy person. Sam Newey, from The Ideas Pot  and Kirsty James, from Colony Networking are sheer powerhouses when it comes to putting on an event and between the three of us we were able to reach out using our connections to make this launch a successful start of many.

Secondly, the power of speaking up about your project or enterprise of activity. One of the lovely things about last week was that while there was one winner, all the projects that pitched got the opportunity to raise their profile and all the attendees got just a little more knowledgeable about what was happening on their doorsteps. As a result new connections were forged, help was volunteered and different projects came to light – all ready for the next Soup on the Go event.

And finally, yes, I know that for some of the pitchers, the event was verging on the terrifying. (even though it is a very gentle event, informal and friendly) And still they turned up, talked about what they were doing and how the winning money would make a difference. Never underestimate the impact of speaking up. You can be doing amazing work but if no one knows about it, then how can they support or invest or volunteer or recommend …) I firmly believe that when the ‘what’ we have to say is too important to keep quiet, then we work out a ‘how‘ to say it …and that can overcome any fear that has previously held us back. (you can hear more about that in my TEDx talk from last year)

So well done Greenbank Community Hub and all the pitchers at Soup on the Go last week. And if you know, or are part of, a social enterprise of local project in Cheshire and need micro funding, then click here to follow our progress on Facebook and give me a bell or email to find out when we’ll be coming near you – with a bowl of steaming , delicious soup and a wad of cash and community spirit!

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