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A bewildered member of the human race

A Festive BrightonSoup @ Community Base

The nights draw in early in Winter, and we wondered if the damp streets and bitterly cold evenings would put a dampener on our BrightonSoup event at Community Base on the 2nd December.

What were we thinking?! Of course not!! Like happy elves, the BrightonSoup Team were full of cheer and despite the bum-clenching cold we had a packed house. True to form, over 50% of those attending were new-comers, brought by our ever expanding network or increasingly, those that had heard of us through word of mouth.

I can only liken the night to being a little bit Christmas day; bursting with excitement at the start, gorging on soup and good vibes from all the projects, a lot of Christmas cheers (I cleared up the bottles) and then a group clear up before a sit down with a cup of tea. Thank you to all who helped, we couldn’t do it without you.

The challenge, as always, was listening to each of the projects and deciding who to vote for. This time, we had some incredibly creative and engaging pitches from our projects.

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Opening for us on the night – and the ultimate winner of the door money and donations of £398 – was the wonderful quiz master Rohan and his colleague Chloe from SPEAKOUT who engaged the audience with their pop quiz and wanted support to create a film with a local film maker to educate people about the issues people with learning disabilities face.

Following Rohan, came Emily from Little Green Pig rhyming to us about THIS IS MY CITY, a ten week project for forty 8-11 year olds from schools in areas of high deprivation, to produce a travel guide about Brighton & Hove for young people.

oxThe Ox Therapy Centre for Children is the brainchild of Denise from Holistic Happiness. Denise wanted support to continue her work with children who have experienced trauma, providing a venue for mindfulness and relaxation courses, providing the right intervention at the right time.

Our final pitch came from the wonderful Gail at Elder Abuse Recovery, a charity that offers support for elderly people who have experienced abuse. EARS wanted support to train more volunteer befrienders.

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We were delighted to have the magical Birte Paulsen perform with support from Paul Diello for us on the evening, bringing a little bit of ethereal Nordic melancholy to the evening. You can find out more about Birte on our archive page at the end.

We have to thank Ollie and the team at Community Base for being so supportive and welcoming, allowing us to use the brilliant facilities and even helping with the washing up at the end of the night!

soup-urnHowever, BrightonSoup night is nothing without the soups! And what soups we had! They were so popular, people were coming back for seconds. We had our regular supporters Tom Chadd from the Soup Dept and Sam Redfern who both couldn’t be there but still delivered mouthwatering soups. Matteo and Lizzie yet again blew our minds and we had a newcomer  Joanne from ProgressLab who has been coming to BrightonSoup for a while who made us all very happy with her tasty soup. You can find the details of their delicious soups here.  A huge thank to everyone for bringing bread and food to share, there was so much to go round and the pot luck element of the night just adds to the evening.

We also had a visit from Caroline Lucas MP who we are very grateful to for sparing the time to come and visit us at our BrightonSoup event to experience the love. And the SOUP! caroline

So it just leaves us to let you know that the next event will be St. Georges Hall in Hangleton on Friday 24th February and remember that we are always over subscribed and the tickets sell out fast so get in there quick.

Big Love Souper Stars;

  • To see the full details on the event, who the contributors were and how you can get involved with any of the projects, check out the event archive.
  • You can check out the event photos on our facebook album so get tagging.

See you all soon

Team Soup

The Space between Soups

For the Brighton Soup team, the year has been a long, steady stream of activity punctuated by feverish last minute sort outs,  acrobatic poster hanging and heart-stopping moments of What have we forgotten!!?.

Once the last soup bowl is cleaned and put away for the next event, the planning rollercoaster winds up and we are at full tilt yet again.

But like most things in life, it is the spaces in-between that can provide us with the greatest insights and inspiration. That delicious pause that gives us the opportunity to reflect on what can be achieved through collaboration, connection and fun with the people in our communities.

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During one moment of pause, we attended a fun day organised by the wonderful Friends of Vale Park where Mike and the local community have come together in order to improve the facilities for their local park. Within a short time, they have shown what is possible when a community comes together to make positive change.

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It was a fantastic day and as the name indicates, we really committed to the FUN bit with some rather professional, if random, puppetry. We even met the Mayor of Brighton & Hove. He was incredibly gracious as we flagrantly pinned him with a Brighton Soup badge. What a gent.

Throughout the day, as we were approached by locals strolling through the park, every conversation sparked some new link, some new connection to another community or participation idea. Every other discussion led to ‘Have you thought of…?’ or ‘Have you met with…?’ and ‘Can I put you in contact with ….?’.  Our tiny Soup minds were getting blown by the possibilities that came from just one fun afternoon in the (eventual) sun.

Like most things in life, it is the spaces in-between that can provide us with the greatest insights and inspiration.

So like all good Soup makers, we know that a good soup is made from bringing lovely and diverse ingredients together to create something beautiful. We have taken each of those connections, links and ideas and thrown them into our ever-simmering Soup pot, ready for the next event and never forgetting to pause and taste the soup. You never know where it could lead.

Kate

Team Soup

You can check out http://www.friendsofvalepark.co.uk or @valeparkfriends

 

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Soup Pot Share

Whilst every soup event is special, there was definitely something in the air (sorry, Phil) at our last event. And not simply because it was our 1st birthday :).

#2016-07-01-194638-#3190-RBOLLRegular Soup attendees and recent converts know our nights are about bringing people together to listen, eat and vote for one of the groups pitching and effect change in some way for our communities.

But on Friday 1st July, Ali Ghanimi from Free University Brighton – who won the vote on the night – stood up, thanked everybody for their support and announced their intention to share the £876.25 Soup pot with their fellow pitchers from Esteem, Brighton Oasis Project and Women Over 50 Film Festival!

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This truly embodies the spirit of BrightonSoup and the ethos of community partnering. Rock on!

And this happened before they knew Ahmed el Dessouki of Papa John’s Pizza Brighton had just offered £300 to be split amongst the runners up. He only dropped by with his family for some soup and a vote, but maybe that was whatever was in the air again.

So everyone who pitched not only went home with some useful new contacts but also £294 to help with their community projects!

“I’m honestly amazed at what a group of people who come together can achieve. The soup was tremendous, I’m coming back.”

#2016-07-01-194717-#3194-RBOLLMaybe it was the venue. The Revive Cafe is warm friendly space on the Emmaus grounds, and the people who live and work at Emmaus give out a beautiful helpful vibe.

This was the perfect place for soup, to sit and hear pitches delivered with passion and humour, where each had a story to bring to life what the funding would mean to their project.

And the perfect place to enjoy the delicious soups provided once again by our generous chefs – Tom, Lizzie, Sam and Matteo. Along with a few Papa John’s Pizzas and all the food guests brought along to share.#2016-07-01-194805-#3204-RBOLL

“Food (soup & pizzas) very tasty, very sociable atmosphere, everyone very friendly. Learned a lot about what good projects are going on locally.”

All that was missing was some entertainment, and it very nearly was missing. Our scheduled artist failed to appear (thanks) so we had to find an alternative at very short notice. Fortunately Charlie Anjos stepped up to provide some brilliant entertainment, giving us acoustic versions of some of his fave songs. I can’t get Perfect Skin by Peace out of my head now.

Well, he does keep playing it around the house :).

So a magic night and a great way to end our first year. Thank you all for coming along to help us celebrate. A very big thanks to Joel, Andy, Ian and all at Emmaus for providing us with a great venue and putting up with our reorganising their community cafe and kitchen for the evening! We hope it was worth it – we met a lot of lovely people who thought it was.

  • For full details on who pitched, contributed and helped check out the event archive.
  • Or check out the event photos here.

See you at the next one!

Team Soup

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St George & The Community Soup Dragons!

Friday night was BrightonSoup night and my oh my, last Friday was epic. Thank you to everyone who joined us at St Georges Church in Kemptown, all you soup dragons made this event truly special.

From the faces we know well, delivering their tantalising soups and serving everyone with a smile, to those who were out for a different kind of Friday night, bringing friends and work colleagues.  To the couples, the families and even the odd first date…thank you for coming and playing a vital part in your community through supporting these amazing projects.

Pitches galore!

We had a mix of pitches on the evening with the ultimate winner being Sam Hart from Sussex 2016-04-29-214045-#997-CDAPrisoners’ Families. The win allows them to train more volunteers to offer independent advice and support to the children and families of those facing prison. We were delighted to be able to hand over a very large ceremonial cheque for £893.00! This amount was achieved through all the ticket donations paid in advance and taken at the door on the night, and the  wonderful Ahmed from Papa John’s Pizza Brighton who kindly matched it to double the pot!

Every pitch was impassioned and delivered eloquently making the decision for everyone on the night particularly challenging.  First Dan, from Goodmoney CIC , a Brighton based social enterprise that provides alternative ways of exchanging value within the community, wanted 2016-04-29-185203-#823-CDA #editedsupport to develop a voucher wallet that would be sent with every voucher bought. Nick, from St. John’s School & College, who provide education, care and medical therapy to young people aged 7 to 25, wanted help to run the first Glastonbury-style festival for all of their pupils. And Lucy from Rhythmix, a music and social welfare charity providing opportunities for music making to people in challenging circumstances, who desperately need new computer equipment.

You can find out more about each of the projects that pitched here and how else you can help.

“What inspired me tonight is that it is not just about who wins the pitch, it is the constant offers of support or ideas that I’ve witnessed that embodies what community spirit is all about – Thanks Brighton Soup.” – Greg, first time Souper

2016-04-29-212939-#963-CDA#editedThere was a welcome return from Simon Cobb from Stoneham Bakehouse who won £352.50 at our last event to help purchase a really rather beautiful Elephant Bike to help share the benefits of baking as therapy for the community.  Simon and his team were also featured on BBC South East Today last  Friday talking about how baking can help commnuities. Follow them for details of their next baking session……and GET INVOLVED!

Nice one, Dave!

For those of you who don’t know Dr David Bramwell, we were lucky enough to be taken, if only for a short while, on an entertaining and engaging tour of his journey to some of the most extraordinary communities across the world. Peppered with funny anecdotes and insights, David’s talk reminded us of the importance of connections through conversation and to the people in our community.

“Creating dialogue across a diverse community” Colin

You can get a taste of David’s journey by watching episode 1 from his The No.9 Bus to Utopia web series. Or catch him at the Catalyst Club every 2nd Thursday of the month.

Soupers Delight

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Thank you to our soup contributors! Once again 5 delicious soups catering for all tastes. Lizzie Batten brought a crowd favourite and was once again found in the kitchen helping out. And although BrightonSoup stalwarts Tom Chadd and Ash Sharma  couldn’t make it, they sent their deliciousness along for us to enjoy.

Newcomer, Matteo  Watkins, enjoyed our last event so much he came back and made soup for us, and what a soup it was!

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Sam Redfern returned with another lovely soup, but this time also offered himself up as a raffle prize – cooking a meal for 4 at the winners home – including wine! Here he is with the lucky winner. Not sure who does the washing up though :).

And let’s not forget all the people who brought food along to share. Check out our contributors section for more details.

 

All the event photos are on our facebook album.

Next Up

Well that was BrightonSoup @ The Crypt, or St Georges if you prefer :). We had a great time and are now looking ahead to our anniversary soup in Portslade on 1st July. Details to follow.

In the meantime, thanks, love and laughter.

Team Soup