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 71 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 due to the funding and the impact SOUP! has had.
SOUP! on 9th July
Voting was close but in the end Wells Carnival received the most votes and pushed the city’s skatepark into second place.
But everyone was a winner. Saturday 9th July’s event was Wells SOUP!, where all the charities and voluntary projects go away with much needed money. SOUP!, the grant-giving lunch organised by Wells Independents, has so far helped 72 good causes since it was launched in April 2015.
Wells Carnival’s case was presented by Tony Frazier who said it supports our tourism economy, is not the free show as advertised in the media, and makes donations to people in need. But Covid has cancelled carnival for two years, curtailed their fundraising, volunteers had tended to drift away, and costs have risen.
James Glendenning told the audience in the Connect Centre that the city’s existing skatepark was not safe enough and better designs were needed, built to a higher standard. Young skaters would use the money from SOUP! to engage the community and set up the major fundraising required.
Dogs for Health was the first charity in SOUP!’s history to bring their animals on stage. Gail Foreman explained how their wonderfully behaved dogs visit care homes, the sick, autistic children, and people afraid to leave the house. “They love to meet the dogs and cuddle them, and we are there to help anyone who needs us.”
Julia Bedford and Rosie told how they wanted to launch a new project called Remembering Remedies where people would share old and new herbal medicine-making skills at a low-cost herbal clinic at the Connect Centre. Then the assembled remedies would be published.
Before these four presentations the audience was told by Denise Denis of the Wells Dementia Action Alliance how they had spent money they received at the previous SOUP! on the Singing for the Brain session at the Methodist Hall in Southover.
After the audience had voted and the results announced, the MC Paddy O’Hagan thanked Ross Young, the main organiser of SOUP, the Blue School for making the choices of soup, Waitrose who donated the veg, Burns the Bread, Santé for the red wine, Morrisons the white wine and soft drinks, and Mickey from Wells Market for the flowers on the tables.
Special thanks are due to Rod Major of Wells Funeral Services for sponsoring this SOUP to the tune of £350. “I am delighted to support SOUP,” said Rod, “a wonderful initiative which has helped so many good causes in Wells.”
All the presenters gathered onstage with Wells Mayor Stewart Cursley at the end of 9th July’s SOUP!
The next Wells SOUP! will be on Saturday October 15 at 12.50pm at the Elim Connect Centre in Wells.
Dates for SOUP! in 2023 will be January 14, April 15, July 15, October 14. Put them in your diary now!
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, Santé Wine Imports, Wells Blue School – all of whom provide the food and beverage – and Mickey in the Market the flowers for the tables. 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!