Monthly Archives: January 2017

An Interview with Xavier Armani – Republic to Bloom

When we took it to the Bridge, Xavier Armani from republic (now named Bloom) pitched his brilliant venture of a community coffee hub in Brighton, nurturing development through barista skills, for anyone finding themselves in tough circumstances. So we’ve caught up with with him to hear all about his experience with us, and how they’ve been since September.

So Xavier, how did you find out about Soup?

I had heard about it through my colleague, Amy, who runs another One Church project called Chomp and she spoke about how great an experience it was for her, despite that she didn’t win. Then hearing little bits from others here and there, I really felt like it would be a terrific thing for myself and for Bloom.

Oh fantastic, so what made you decide to apply, how did you get the ball rolling?

After looking for fundraising at so many places, Soup sounded bloom3really human centred and  real, which appealed a lot to me. So, I applied and then had a coffee with Will and Karin [Team Soupers] and we spoke about Bloom and Soup. My application would be further reviewed and, if successful, I would be contacted to prepare for the pitch. Since Bloom was only a couple months old I wasn’t very optimistic, needless to say I was delighted to hear that I’d been accepted.

Ah, that must of been exciting. How did you prepare for the big night?

Public speaking isn’t really a strong point for me but, drawing on the pitch-making session the Soup provided me and the support from my friends and family, I felt like I was where I should be.

You definitely were! So, how did you find the night? Talk us through your first Soup experience!

I was anxious, worried that I wouldn’t communicate clearly enough and that the audience’s understanding of Bloom and, to an extent, myself would be skewed. The evening didn’t start well, I arrived late and didn’t have enough money to buy my own ticket (actually I think I still owe you guys 67 pence).

Then I sat down at my table and got talking to the 14543799_1236028339792647_4094036179619985018_o
other pitchers, all of whom are doing wonderful work, and I started to relax a bit. I don’t remember any of my pitch (kinda blacked out), I remember the soup was terrific (some spicy Mexican bean thing) and being congratulated by everyone I walked past (my favourite part of the evening).

“I found the whole evening a wonderful experience, meeting new and inspirational people and connecting with the community of Brighton and Hove, I felt very grateful to be given that opportunity.”

Awesome, that’s great to hear. So how have you and Bloom been since Soup?

Really great Stephanie, we’ve had a positive effect on lots of people and a handful of our Jedis have journeyed all the way to employment and even more have graduated with certification.

Wow that’s fantastic, so pleased to hear its going so well. It’s absolutely incredible work you’re doing, helping turn around peoples lives, its very inspiring. Is Republic still looking for support and funding to continue your journey?

Yes indeed, we’re always looking for facilitating the fullest version of our offering and making it as sustainable as possible.

Well if anyone out there wants to get involved and support Bloom further, get in touch!

Thanks so much for speaking with us Xavier; but lastly, if you were a soup, which would you be?!

Well, I’ve never been asked that before. Probably a miso soup, it’s simple but very nourishing.

Ha, great choice! Well thanks for your time Xavier, keep doing what you’re doing!

We love what we do at BrightonSoup, and we hope you do too. If you want to see more of what Xavier and Bloom are doing you can check them out on facebook and instagram.

Our next BrightonSoup event is next month on Friday the 24th February @ St George’s Church Hall in Hangleton. There’s still time to submit for this event so if you have a project that needs funding and support, the deadline is next week on 2nd February. So get in touch and submit your idea!

That’s it from me, so have a great weekend, till next time.

(Tom Yum)

Team Soup

Work Hard, Play Harder

If you’ve been tuning in to Under The Influence with Mike Willis on 1Brighton FM (and if not, why not?) you might remember the very talented Charlotte Howard playing live on the show back in November.14433216_1416956838318544_1641062313348719759_n

Charlotte is a local singer/song writer known around town for her original tunes as well as some awesome Country/Pop/Rock covers.

So we are super lucky to have her perform at our next Soup in February! If you want a sneak peak at what a treat you’re in for, check her out on Facebook , and make sure you grab your tickets soon!

Team Soup

A Taste of Malvern Soup

At the end of last year I had the pleasure of attending another Soup in the UK, this time it was in Malvern, Worcester. It was their 2nd event, held at Malvern Town Football Club, and with four fantastic projects pitching it was an inspiring evening with a really difficult choice to be made.

After being greeted on the door by some lovely volunteers with matching Malvern Soup tee’s (can’t deny being jealous of those!), I then met Chris the founder, and his wife. We chatted and swapped notes before getting settled in for an afternoon of Soup!

“It’s nice when new people get captured by the magic of soup!”

Chris was inspired to start up Malvern Soup when he went along to Worcester Soup. He loved hearing about the projects that were pitched, but also loved the feel of the event. It created a space where people who cared could come together to learn, discuss and generate new ideas. So, he reckoned there would be enough people in Malvern with a passion for community to make a MalvernSoup viable.

It took a few months to get the ball rolling however. He had an initial meeting where Bruce from Worcester Soup came to talk and offer advice. They’ve had good support from agencies – council, housing association, children’s centre, police – which has continued. What he didn’t have were other community volunteers to make it a reality. But after some chatting to people at a market and an overheard conversation, their small group came together.


Chris Reed (left), and project pitchers

It’s always really exciting going to another Soup. Seeing how another group have established themselves, organised their evening. Noticing all the little things that differ or that you do the same. I was in familiar surroundings although I’d never been there! I went to another Soup earlier in the year (Ely) and although each one seems to have the same format, the same intent, they all have their individuality.

One thing that came across is that they love to involve people of all ages and try to be very inclusive, they’ve been supported by the local sports provider and children’s centre who have brought kit along to keep the little ones entertained whilst the older lot network. Ensuring fun and benefit for everyone there.

It was a tough choice; a community garden, an association reaching out to isolated people, a timebank and a self-advocacy group for people with learning disabilities. Their pitches were engaging and emotive. There were duo’s, interviews, props used, and after each presentation I heard I wanted vote for them. Which obviously made it difficult when crunch time came along.

The winners Speak Easy N.O.W who support people with learning disabilities, took home an amazing £350, which was all of the door money and matched funding from Big Pickersleigh Project (for the 2nd time)!

“They’ve all enjoyed pitching and said they’ve gained from it, whether through making connections or building their confidence. And that’s what it’s all about.”

Everyone at Malvern Soup are pretty optimistic that they can go on to even bigger and better things, and I’m sure soon they’ll be offering advice and support to newer soups, just as they’ve received from Worcester and us!

If you’re going to another part of the country, keep on the look out for other Soup events going on, its always great to see what else is going on, and support it. Community isn’t just local.

It was a fab Soup Chris, thank you, keep it up!

Stephanie, Team Soup


A look back on 2016

Happy New Year everyone!

2016 was yet another fantastic year for BrightonSoup, and now with over 50 Soups in the UK a fantastic year for the Soup movement. So what did we get up to last year..?

  • We held 5 Soups; in Portslade, Moulsecoomb, Kemp Town and Central Brighton
  • We were donated an incredible amount of raffle contributions from local business
  • We had donations from 6 supermarkets and local food organisations (including projects that had pitched)
  • 8 local chefs prepared a selection of 24 delicious soups, of which the majority were gluten free, and vegan 🙂 And Papa Johns donated more large tasty pizzas as well as all the mountains of pot luck yummy food that people brought along too
  • 4 talented and diverse musicians entertained us with some of their original music and some cool covers, and to make it a bit different we even had a guest speaker!
  • We had 20 people pitch their projects and ultimately 8 winners (as at one Soups the winner shared their pot!) who received £3,281.80 from the tickets paid by the 473 attendees, this also included the 3 extra prize donations from a local business and fans of the BrightonSoup movement

It was a great year for us and we ended it with a brilliant last soup full of so much energy, and compassion. And we’re totally looking forward to seeing SpeakOut’s documentary later this year!

We record everything that happens from our BrightonSoup events in an archive, so if you want to see what went down at any previous events you missed, or you’ve been thinking about contacting one of the previous pitchers you connected with to offer your support in some way, then check it out here.


So now onto 2017, and there’s a lot to look forward to. But we like to keep you on your toes, so all will be revealed in due course.. For now though we can wet your soup appetite, so save the date as our next soup is going to be at St Georges Church in Hangleton on 24th February.

We wish everyone a successful 2017, and look forward to continuously supporting each other and our fantastic community, lets make changes!

Team Soup