Why not hold the occasional micro-granting event to help highlight and fund local projects in your community?
The concept is simple. Invite the community to come along to enjoy a bowl of soup, bread and a drink for a minimum cost of £5 or £10 and receive a vote.
During the evening, 3-4 local people/groups get their chance to present their ideas – what they’ve been doing, why they need the money, where they see the project in 6 months time. Local groups don’t require charity status, just simply people who feel their idea makes a bit of difference to an element of their community.
The votes are placed and the door takings (less cost of soup) are distributed according to the votes cast for each group or the winner takes it all.
The idea originated in Detroit in 2010 after the city was devasted by recession and lack of money. The community worked together to rebuild their homes and lives and neighbourhood soup became part of this. The idea is being tried, with seemingly varying degrees of success, in some places in the UK e.g. Sheffield.
It seems natural for churches in the heart of community to take this forward.
Let's dig deeper into the concept.
Local projects are identified in the community or applications from local people/projects are sought from the community and three to four are invited to present to a Soup event. To qualify to apply, the people must reside in the community, and the project, idea or business must take place in the community. There are no restrictions on age or ideas, or the type of idea. Applications are welcome from community groups, charities, individuals, freelancers, self employed, employed, unemployed, big or small business. To select the ideas, you will need some judges who are resident in the community to shortlist their favourite three or four applications to go through to live pitch night to compete to win the vote. It’s that simple.
The event is advertised in the community and bookings taken.
For a donation of £5 (or £10 if costs of food are to be taken out), attendees receive soup, bread, a drink and a vote and hear from three to four presentations ranging from art, urban agriculture, social justice, social entrepreneurs, education, technology and more. Each presenter has four minutes to share their idea and then answer four questions from the audience. After the presentations, audience members are encouraged to discuss/debate before voting. At the event, attendees eat, talk, share resources and vote on the project they think benefits the community the most. At the end of the night, the organisers count the ballots and the money is shared out according to the votes or the winner goes home with all of the money raised to carry out their project. Winners come back to a future Soup event to report their project’s progress.
Soup becomes a collaboration, a meal together, a platform for connection, a safe space, community helping fund its own people and a forum. It helps empower residents, creates jobs, allows people to establish new relationships and networks, promotes action and change, fosters critical dialogue and instills neighbourhood pride.
Why not organise your own Soup event(s) in your community?
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Geoff Knott, 12/02/2019