Soup #2 was way back in November at the Therapy Life Centre in Southend. We are hugely grateful to Karen for hosting: it was a splendid example of community chaos – possibly rather more exciting than expected! (Fortunately, the pens were water-based, so rubbed off the wall and floors fairly easily…)

Soup at therapy life centre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Each Soup is unique. November soup was a family affair; with many small people in attendance and three of the four presenters focusing on children and families. Kate made her second appearance – Festive Elf attired as promised – explaining the SHARE foodbank programme, which operates in Shoeburyness, supporting families in need. Kate hoped to secure funding for presents to give out at a Christmas gathering. Adriana introduced the Amargur project – arts for children making use of recycled materials. Funding would enable them to purchase more materials. Lynsey introduced her project Mothering Matters, a peer support programme to promote wellbeing of new mums.  And John talked about the churches support for homeless people during the cold winter months – providing shelter, food and support during a difficult time. This project runs til 31st March, and volunteers are always needed. Contact John if you can help. Kate won the vote, but no one ever loses out. A benefit of presenting an idea is to raise awareness of projects and plans. It’s a chance to connect with others who share interests, and who might be up for helping out, and to sign up volunteers. We wish everyone well and hope you’ll continue to share your stories with us.

There’s more to Soup than the presentations. Raw food specialists Stella and Sara were joined by Chef Stuart to concoct an array of healthy fare from their own ingredients and those donated by Soupers. People bought their own additions to the feast, such as raw fruit balls (sweets that are good for you!) and home-made humus with a kick. The chefs toiled throughout the afternoon in the small kitchen – doing an impressive job of feeding the 50 or so people that came along. Whilst food was prepared, we were entertained by Graham and Wayne – Warty Hubbard and his Magic Cupboard – on acoustic guitar; playing a selection of children’s classics to keep the whippersnappers jumping about.  We also held ‘Blind Date with a book’: wrapped up ‘secret’ books to swap.

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In December, we took kindness and connection to the streets – spending a couple of weekends offering FREE HUGS! to stressed shoppers. I was astounded how well this went down. Some people rushed up to be hugged, others smiled shyly but hugged expansively when given encouragement, others needed to be chased and rugby tackled. Even local police officers were up for a quick cuddle. Some people really needed that hug – an older lady who hadn’t been hugged in over a decade, a young teenager who’d recently been mugged and had been scared to go out, a pregnant big issue seller who talked about missing the mother she’d not seen in seven years.

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Finally, after much juggling of life’s rich array of balls and chainsaws, I’ve gotten around to booking the next soup. And it’s in just two weeks’ time!

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