In April 2016, Wells Independents launched SOUP!, an event designed to support local charities and projects and at the same time have a bit of fun. The quarterly programme of fund-raising lunches has so far benefitted 76 good causes in Wells and the surrounding area. While eating delicious soup is part of the deal, there is much more to savour.
How SOUP! works
£5 gets you delicious soup, fresh bread - and a vote.
At each SOUP! lunch there are four presentations on local Wells projects. These range from charities, culture, regeneration, community, social justice, social enterprise, education, to technology and more.
After the presentations, the audience is encouraged to discuss and debate before voting. They then vote on which project they think will benefit Wells and the surrounding area the most.
Whichever presenter gets the most votes wins half of the money collected at the door, to support their project going forward. This can be as much as £350, including match-funding by sponsorship from a local business. The runners-up share the other half. So, all four go away with new funds but, most importantly, have been given a platform to spread their word!
The winning good cause is invited back to a future SOUP! to share what has been achieved as a result of the funding, and the impact SOUP! has had.
To apply to be one of the presenters at SOUP!, please scroll down to the bottom of this page where you will find the PDF application form.
SOUP! on 15th April 2023
WIN, win, win – that was the result of Saturday’s Wells SOUP!
First, speaking to the full house at the city’s Connect Centre, all four good causes had the chance to raise their profile by explaining what they do.
Second, all four went away with money raised by the grant-giving lunch that is SOUP!
Third, the more than 100-strong audience enjoyed a convivial and informative light meal with drinks.
Ross Young, who leads the team of Wells Independents (WIN) volunteers who organise SOUP!, said he was delighted with the “huge success” of Saturday’s event and read a message from the Bishop of Bath and Wells. “I am so sorry that I am unable to join you at SOUP! today,” wrote Bishop Michael. “It is amazing that today marks 80+ charities and local projects that SOUP! has helped so far. What an achievement!”
Karen Deverell from WCN explained how the group was formed as the Wells Coronavirus Network in 2019 to organise shopping and prescriptions for the isolated, through the terrifying times of the pandemic. WCN then widened its work and transformed into the Wells Community Network. Its volunteers act as marshals at vaccination centres where 4,600 jabs have been administered, the WCN phone helpline has taken 4,500 calls, the Ukrainian Hub supports refugees, and WCN will soon launch a trishaw project to give vulnerable people rides around Wells.
Irene Prince runs the Wells Social Group for the Visually Impaired with her husband. She told how isolated and lonely it is if you are blind. After leaving hospital with your diagnosis you get no help from the state, and joining a club is very difficult when you can’t read anything in front of you. The Somerset Sight charity was supportive, but her group needed to do more. She wants to create a library with audio and large print books so the visually impaired could live a more comfortable life.
Paul Cannon said Wellspring Music was started in Lockdown to provide high quality, locally sourced live music – free – to the people of Wells. They put on at least one free event a week in the city and take a collection, but that does not cover the costs. Wellspring Music also puts on fundraising events for charities. Live music is important because it boosts mental well-being and social engagement.
Rachel Humphreys told how in our country we waste 15 million tons of food each year – most of which is edible. Sustainable Wells has started the Wells Community Fridge which will hold unwanted food from shops, restaurants and individuals for anyone to take away and use. It will have a freezer and larder as well as a fridge. Community Fridges also support people who are struggling to put food on the table. They are welcoming spaces open to all. Money was needed for a consultation about where the Community Fridge could be located in Wells and to create a website for the project.
SOUP! was hosted by Simon Lawder who thanked Bowley’s Garage for sponsoring the event, the Connect Centre’s chef Kean for making the two choices of delicious soup, Morrisons and Waitrose for giving the ingredients and drinks, Bishops Eye for donating the red wine, Burns the Bread for giving the fresh rolls, and Karen Young for buying all the flowers.
The next Wells SOUP! lunch will be in the Connect Centre on Saturday 15th July.
The four presenters at Saturday’s SOUP!, from the left, Irene Prince of the Wells Social Group for the Visually Impaired, Karen Deverell from WCN, Rachel Humphreys of Wells Community Fridge with her son Tom, and Wellspring Music’s Paul Cannon.
The next Wells SOUP! will be on Saturday April 15th at 12.40pm at the Elim Connect Centre in Wells.
Further dates for SOUP! in 2023 will be July 15, October 14. Put them in your diary now!
Please email email@example.com if you have any queries about SOUP!
SOUP! is a powerful tool to start conversations, enjoy yourself, make new contacts and improve where you live.
Wells SOUP! is supported by Waitrose, Morrison’s, Burns the Bread, Santé Wine Imports, Wells Blue School, Bishops Eye – all of whom provide the food and beverage – and Mickey in the Market the flowers for the tables and St Andrews Press for all the photocopying. We are also extremely grateful to the companies who have ‘match funded’ (sponsored) SOUP! – the full list is in the downloadable PDF file below.
This PDF also has details of how to apply to present at SOUP!