How it works

DSC_0545Southend Soup is based on Detroit Soup. A community micro-finance project, which I heard about via BBC Radio 4.

The Southend version goes something like this:

What it does:

  • Brings people together.
  • Provides small amounts of money to help people with their Good Ideas.

What it isn’t:

  • Southend Soup is not religious or political. People of every religion and none are welcome. Soup meetings are sometimes held at faith-based venues, but the project itself is secular. Likewise, everyone is welcome whatever their political views. Soup does not align itself with any political party. We ask that everyone respects the difference and diversity to be found at Soup and that you enjoy having perceptions challenged via interesting conversations with new people!

How it works:

  • People pay a donation of £5 (or what they can afford – we don’t exclude people that can’t afford a fiver. People can also choose to donate more, and people often do!) to buy soup, a roll, as many drinks as they like (non alcoholic) and a vote. Children attend for free (and still get a vote if they’re able to understand the premise.)
  • People mingle and get to know one another – by sharing food and stories.
  • People with Good Ideas get five minutes (with a short time afterwards for questions) to talk about what they want to do, and how they’ll use the money. No slide shows, but props, interpretive dance etc are welcome.
  • Everyone in the room votes for the idea they want to see happen.
  • If people feel passionately about the idea, they can also offer to help to make it happen.
  • The idea with the most votes wins the money in the kitty.

Good ideas:

  • People submit their idea before the event. They can do this by filling in the form on the Submit page. If people prefer not to write, or don’t write, they can send video of their answers – which can be uploaded as a video, or transcribed to text if preferred.
  • Good Ideas will be posted on line before the event. At the event, people who come along will be given a “menu” of the evening’s ideas.
  • People who receive funding will be invited to tell people how they used it and how they got on with their idea.

The rules:

  • People can come up with any idea they wish. This could be an artistic venture, a business idea or anything that helps the community. As long as the idea doesn’t cause harm to anyone (directly or indirectly), it can be considered. It can be of individual, group and/or community benefit. The more structure you have to your idea, and the better your plan, the more likely it will be that people will vote for you – so be prepared!
  • There are no rules about selecting winners. No panels and no selection criteria. The people that attend vote with hearts and/or heads (or kidneys or spleens, whatever works). People choose whatever idea they like the best.
  • There are no rules about how the money should be spent. We trust people to use the funding as they’ve said they will, but if they use it another way, that’s up to them (after all, ideas can change and evolve!) No one will be held to account. But we would like to know how people get on.

Want to support us by hosting an event? Get in touch here


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