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 80 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 all 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.
SOUP! on 14th October 2023
Plans to complete a pioneering path across Somerset received a welcome boost at Saturday’s Wells SOUP!
The audience at this grant-giving lunch organised by Wells Independents was told how the greenway called The Strawberry Line will cross from Shepton Mallet to Clevedon via Wells on railway tracks closed in the 1960s.
Strawberry Line volunteer Richard Jones explained how the tracks were sold for £1 a mile and they are negotiating with the owners for permission to extend the path for walkers
and cyclists across their land. Richard was one of four presenters who explained what their charity or good cause does. Then the audience voted on which one should get the biggest grant and all four went away with money and a raised profile.
But first Joanna Davey from PromiseWorks told how this charity had spent the grant they received from the previous Wells SOUP! to train more of their mentors who support vulnerable children. The two youngsters they helped had been unable to leave home since the Covid lockdowns because of anxiety.
Mary Ellis from City of Wells Lions explained that although they only had seven members, the Lions raised money for other good causes, led the organisation of the hugely popular Wells Moat Boat Race and had a Discretionary Fund to privately support people in extreme difficulty.
Then Tanys Pullin, Mayor of Wells, told of her project to transform wedding dresses into beautiful ballgowns for auction in aid of two charities, Heads Up which supports people with mental health difficulties, and Whizz-Kids which provides disabled youngsters with wheelchairs and other equipment they need.
Kim Robinson explained that the Repair Café was a Sustainable Wells initiative to reduce the volume of stuff dumped in landfill and to change the mindset that things that have stopped working can’t be fixed. They have repaired kettles, lawnmowers, a VHS player and a child’s electric car.
The Strawberry Line went away with a £350 grant from Wells SOUP! The other three were given £118.
The master of ceremonies was Paddy O’Hagan who thanked match-funding sponsor Wells Funeral Services, the Connect Centre who made the choice of soups, Burns the Bread for the bread rolls, Bishop’s Eye for the red wine, Morrisons for the white wine, Karen Young for the flowers and SOUP! organiser Ross Young.
Wells SOUP! is held every quarter at the city’s Connect Centre and the next one will be on Saturday January 6.
All the presenters at Wells SOUP! were given flowers
L to R: Wells Mayor Tanys Pullin, Kim Robinson, Richard Jones, MC Paddy O’Hagan and Mary Ellis
The next Wells SOUP! will be on Saturday 6th January 2024 at the Elim Connect Centre in Wells. Arrive 12.40pm for a 1pm start.
Further dates for your diary in 2024 are: 6th April, 6th July and 5th October.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org 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, Wells Blue School, Bishop's Eye – all of whom provide the food and beverages – and the Connect Centre, Mickey in the Market for the flowers on the tables. We are also extremely grateful to the companies who have ‘match funded’ (sponsored) SOUP!.
A full list of sponsors and the growing number of supported causes can be found below:
Present at SOUP!
How to apply to present at Wells SOUP!
SOUP! is a great way to raise money, tell people about your work, build community support and get connections to local resources that can help you carry out your project.
Once again, we are putting out an open call for groups from right across Wells and the local area to present at SOUP! This call is open to all charities, not for profit organisations, Community Interest Companies, social enterprises and individuals. The only condition is that any money raised is spent in Wells or the immediate surrounding area.
You can apply to present at Wells SOUP! by using the form below: