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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

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 due to the funding and the impact SOUP! has had.

Soup surpasses £5,500 in charitable donation

SOUP! on 14th January 2023

Wells SOUP! was a sell-out success on Saturday 14th January, and won praise from the new Bishop of Bath & Wells.   “What an inspiration. It is a magnificent event,” said Bishop Michael, “And aren’t we lucky to have this here.”


He continued his praise in the sermon he gave in Wells Cathedral the following day, telling the congregation how Wells SOUP! works for the common good and saying: “Help was offered, money given and a good time had by all.”   Then he recommended people go to the next one which will be on Saturday April 15 in the Connect Centre.

SOUP! is organised by Wells Independents, whose Ross Young said: “Thank you everyone who came. We had a

full house with a wonderful atmosphere and the venue reached its maximum capacity of 100.”


First to speak was Carol Plenty from the YMCA who explained that the money the charity received at the previous SOUP! had been spent helping people in temporary accommodation to pay their fuel bills.


Next was Helen McCann from Guide Dogs, the first of the three charities seeking support on Saturday.  She explained that they offer a lot more than training dogs for the blind, including free training to anyone who would like to train as a sighted guide for someone losing their sight and free speakers to talk about Guide Dogs and CustomEyes books.

These are large print books for children and young adults who are visually impaired or dyslexic. They are specially customised and printed with the chosen font, font size, colour of print and colour of pages to suit individual needs.   These books are sold at the retail price for the book in its usual format.  A request for a customised copy of a Harry Potter novel amounted to 75,000 pages in 35 volumes but the cost to the recipient was £8.99.

Next on the microphone was Suzanne Addicott from the Connect Centre who told how they provide 10 services including homelessness advice, supported accommodation, drop-ins, activities, upskilling, signposting, volunteer opportunities and a church.   “Community Connect is a continuation of the work that has been done over the last 15 years for the community and is a rapidly evolving service whose focus now extends well beyond previous target domains of Rough Sleeping and Homelessness, though we continue to assist a plethora of people for whom these remain primary issues of concern,” said Suzanne.


“Since its inception in April 2022 the Community Connect team has also been providing support to an ever-increasing number of local residents struggling with issues from navigating physical and mental health systems to optimising benefit eligibilities, from accessing crisis food resources to combatting social isolation, from identifying and accessing other specialist support services to personalised advocacy across diverse processes and settings."


“The team frequently transports individuals to key appointments that would otherwise prove unachievable and provides support at these to optimise outcomes. Our daily drop-ins provide a social lifeline to a burgeoning cohort for whom connection and community are fundamental to well-being.”


The third charity representative on the stage was Madeleine Hellier from the Mothers’ Union which supports victims of domestic abuse – often children.   “They often run to a safe haven with nothing but what they are standing up in.  So emergency items are needed,” said Madeleine.


For acrimonious broken marriages the Mothers’ Union offer Child Contact Centres where the non-resident parent can spend time with their children under supervision.   They also make knitted blankets for the elderly and homeless, and an online Student Cookbook for those going away to college who have never cooked.


The speakers all answered questions from the floor and then the audience voted.   The Connect Centre got most votes and received £400, while the Guide Dogs and Mothers’ Union were given £200 each.


“Thanks to Probusiness of Wells who match-funded the money taken on the door,” said Ross.   “Also the delicious soups made by the Blue School’s catering students with vegetables given by Waitrose, red wine from the Bishop’s Eye, rolls from Burns the Bread, white wine, beer and soft drinks from Morrisons, and flowers from Micky in Wells Market.”

As Bishop Michael said, the next SOUP! will be on Saturday April 15 at 12.40pm in the Connect Centre.

SOUP winners 14JAN23.jpg

At Wells SOUP! were (L-R) Paddy O’Hagan who hosted the event on behalf of Wells Independents, Mayor of Wells Stewart Cursley, Helen McCann from Guide Dogs with Poppy, Bishop of Bath & Wells Michael Beasley, Madeleine Hellier from the Mothers’ Union and Suzanne Addicott of the Connect Centre.

SOUP! support

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 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!

Please email if you have any queries about SOUP!

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