Well we’ve been enjoying summer while getting ready for our next event. There will be plenty of things to tell you about, but in the meantime here’s a little snippet about another soup. When a couple of Team Soup members went a-visiting…
I found myself in Ely for the weekend with my daughter (and Team Soup member), Stephanie. It coincided with Ely Soup’s second event and we were really keen to go along and support our fellow soupers .
So we rocked up and introduced ourselves to Zoe, the founder of Ely Soup. Straight away you’re confronted with her lovely, bubbly, and passionate personality. Zoe works as a community engagement officer working with people across the country. She had been keenly following the Soup movement and felt really passionate about doing something more for her own community.
Zoe asked people to join her at a local pub one cold January day to talk about Soup. Scared that it would end up just her sitting by her lonesome all night, she was surprised and delighted to be proven wrong! It worked. Lots of people liked the idea, and soon enough a committee was formed and planningstarted for the first ever Ely Soup. A graphic designer friend designed a logo, they set up a facebook page and twitter, and suddenly they had started to get the ball rolling.
One of Zoe’s biggest challenges was keeping it simple. She felt that sometimes people become too focused on raising as much money as possible, but Zoe feels that it is about so much more than just funding (as do we) . Just as important is bringing people together and raising awareness in the community.
By all accounts their 1st Ely soup was a success, and we were lucky to be there at their 2nd. It was held at a cosy little restaurant Sylhet Ely in the centre of town on a Saturday afternoon. It was a full house and they had three fantastic projects pitching their causes. As with BrightonSoup, it was very difficult to decide who to vote for! The winner was Hayley who created Cambridgeshire Invisible Illnessses, and she won £260!
Hayley (pictured here with Zoe, some of the Ely Soup Posse and the other pitchers), was absolutely delighted, though surprised. She hadn’t expected to win – not with such amazing contenders.
As always, we were blown away by the extraordinary passion people have for what they want to do for their community.
The project pitchers at Ely have been varied, from a local food bank, a library volunteer who needed Lego, a breast feeding support group and voluntary first responders looking to raise money for a new life saving defibrillator (do you know they have to pay for their own petrol on call outs!).
What surprises Zoe most about Ely Soup, is how overwhelmed and teary she gets at the the events (yep, same goes for us too). Even though on a daily basis through work she sees how amazing people are it still awes her how people have been so giving with their time and skills, the generosity of local businesses and the passion people have, to make Ely a fab place to live.
The Soup movement is an amazing thing, we are constantly amazed by the spirit and generosity of our communities. In a world which at times seems a little bleak, the soup movement is a beacon of hope and positivity. Keep on Souping Zoe and Team, you are doing an awesome job. And thanks for a lovely afternoon, you’re always welcome in Brighton.