Tag Archives: friends

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.


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.


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

A year in Soup

A year ago last Sunday – June 19th – we held our very first soup. Driven by a desire to do something to break the doom and gloom of the recovery. Do something that wasn’t about work, especially as I have to spend time working way from Brighton. Then I read the bit the BBC did on Detroit Soup that seems to have been the catalyst for soups all around the country.

My wife said go for it, my daughter said she do it with me. So we went for it, roping in family, friends and ultimately complete strangers. We weren’t sure how we were going to cover our costs until people started donating stuff for a raffle. Well we better have a raffle then…

Local businesses chipped in, not just for a raffle, but flowers, balloons, decorations and sweets. They made us big pots of soup. A lovely lady came to play and sing. Four very brave people made posters, brought leaflets and then stood and pitched to a roomful of strangers about their project and what they needed money for, then mingled with the guests answering questions.

Luckily people had come to see what it was all about: young, old, on their own, with friends, couples. Some brought food they cooked at home or stopped at a shop on the way: lasagne, rice, bread, cakes, wine – so many things to share and eat.

At one point I just stood watching the room. For the first time that day I stopped moving and just enjoyed being. A room full of people eating, talking animatedly, laughing, voting, looking at displays, swapping details, passing out food, clearing plates, etc. After weeks of nerves and wondering will anyone come, will they enjoy it, will it be a disaster? The answers were clear: yes, yeah, and no it wasn’t.

It’s easy to think of this as a proud “look what we did” moment, and I won’t deny I felt that when I saw family and friends in the midst of it all helping people. What really struck me though was the incredibly positive feeling that ran through the room. This was a room full of really nice people that wanted to get involved in something. Some were already actively engaged in their communities, but for others it was the first time – and it gave them the opportunity to be part of something. As it did me.

Donating money, volunteering, offering goods, space, expertise or just help spreading the word of what they do. And not just to the vote winner, but to all of the projects. It was genuinely humbling to see what people were willing to do, but more so, to realise what so many people were already quietly doing week after week. Helping to make their community better, safer, more beautiful, helping friends, neighbours and complete strangers. Those are the people that filled the room that night – and we were all part of it. We just created the space for it to happen.

It’s tempting to give you stats of the events we’ve held this last year, the amounts we’ve encouraged you to donate and the projects that received your help. But what stays with me about this year is all the people I’ve met. Strangers that approached me to offer donations, funding advice, practical support, help or just a chat about how much they were enjoying the evening. So many wonderful people and some really fun conversations. Some of those strangers are now part of our soup community, helping select projects, cooking soups – some are now on board as part of Team Soup. Some are now friends.

So a lovely lady in Detroit starts something that gets reported over here – and it inspires people all around the country to do the same. If you haven’t yet been to a Soup event, then you really should try one, it really is a great way to spend an evening. Wherever you are, there’s bound to be one happening nearby. We may have different flavours, but at heart we’re the same. And if there isn’t one nearby, well then start one 🙂 . You won’t regret it.

And you can always get in touch if you want some help. From us at BrightonSoup or any other soup around the country. I may not know them, but I can assure they will be glad to help. After all, that’s what soups are about.

Soup changes so many lives and it has certainly changed mine.

I like that.


Next Soup: Friday 1st July @ Emmaus

Worcester Soup have a great list of all the soups that exist around the UK: https://worcestersoup.co.uk/uk-soups/