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 really 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
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!
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.