October 3rd rapidly approaches. Our first Unconference – bringing together people involved in SOUPs and anyone and everyone making a difference in their community (or wanting to make a difference and after some inspiration to get started.)

Those who follow me on Facebook/Twitter will know I’m currently in Zambia supporting the Mumba Children’s Centre. We’re working on a community mosaic project and doing other bits and bobs to help the Mpongwe area. I’ve been applying my public health experience to talk to young men about HIV, sexual health and healthy relationships, and later today I’m visiting the Department for Education to speak with them about the talks I’ll be giving in schools tomorrow and Wednesday. If you would like updates re my adventures – when I get a minute to write, I do so over at https://alotneverhappens.wordpress.com/.

As I’m in absentia, I need your help! For this conference to be a success, we need PEOPLES! Many Peoples! I need you to book yourself in via Eventbrite, and your friends, and I need you to spread the word to organisations and individuals that might want to give talks or take part in any of the activities. Here are the ways people can participate (to get involved email sherryfuller@hotmail.co.uk or use the ‘submit an idea’ form):

1. Host a Lightning Talk. If you’ve set up a SOUP, another ‘people powered’ project, or something else that’s amazing and wonderful, and you want to inspire others; host a 5 minute presentation. No Powerpoint,  plenty of creativity. Art, props, role-play, interpretive dance are all desirable formats. Use your imagination! We need to know in advance if you want to do this.

2. Submit a proposal for micro-funding. Want some money to help get an idea of the ground, or to improve something you’re already doing? We’ll be doing the usual SOUP thing and hearing a few Good Ideas looking for funding. Let us know if you’d like your idea to be considered.

3. Bring entertainment. All of our SOUP events involve as much fun as we can squeeze in. Bring whatever you do – music, face paints, magic tricks, colouring-in accoutrements, hula-hoops etc.

4. Bring arts and crafts. If you make nice things that people might want to buy – bring some along. Again, let us know if you want to do this, so we can make sure we have space for you. We ask stall-holders to make a small donation to the venue as a thank you. The amount is up to you.

Speed-Inspiring and Open Space will be arranged on the day.

BOOKING IS ESSENTIAL The venue has a limit on the amount of people it can accommodate, so please book your ticket in advance. This will also help us ensure we cook up enough Soup!

Remember, It’s FREE, but… the event includes a SOUP micro-funding session, so bring a bit of money – if you can – to go into the pot. And, the venue has asked to sell teas and coffees to raise some funds. We’d like to help them with that, because we love them. They do a lot of good stuff. You might also want to buy things from the craft stalls.

It’s tricky to be organising whilst I’m busy in Africa, so I’d be oh so grateful for help in ensuring our first Unconference is a triumph. Southend Soup has ever been a collaborative affair, so please get sharing – and if anyone’s up for doing a press release, that would be smashing.

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