Idea 1: Nappy Library

Describe your Good Idea: I run a local cloth Nappy Library on a voluntary basis. It’s a non profit where I help families to switch to cloth to help stop the use of disposable nappies as they are a single use plastic. I lend out nappies on trial for free and all consultations and meetings are completely free for families. If they decide to hire nappies from my library we come to an arrangement based on affordability.

Why is this Idea important? This is important as I am helping families in the community to save money on nappies whilst also having an impact on the environment and reducing plastic waste.

How would you use the funding from Soup? I would use the funding to help low income families continue to use my service for free. I would use the money to help me with the running costs such as washing the nappies and petrol for the visits I do as well as getting new stock for the Library. I would be able to expand the library by getting out and about in the community, maybe at community or children’s centres and also perhaps try to run a regular coffee morning or meeting for the families in the community that use cloth to offer advice and guidance in an informal and friendly setting.

Your Idea takes off; what’s happening 6 months from now? I have a regular monthly meet I host for cloth Nappy parents to come and share ideas and problems and meet like minded people. I am able to meet new families at local events in churches and children’s centres to spread the message about the benefits of cloth nappies. I would have hopefully expanded my outreach and be able to work with more families and dedicate more time than I can currently to the Nappy Library.

Idea 2: Community Photography Project

Describe your Good Idea: As a local photographer interested in my local community, I documented Southend Soup as a personal project in 2015 and 2016. An edit of the resulting images currently sits quietly on my website at http://www.markmassey.co.uk/soup. I’d like to take these images and develop the project to produce something more tangible that could also be used to help promote theSouthend Soup (and the Soup movement in general). My proposal is to design and publish a small newsprint publication of the photos, alongside text explaining the idea behind it. I recently produced a dummy issue of another local project I’ve been working on, about the Essex estuary, and my day job is in magazine design so I have the relevant skills. I will bring some newsprint examples to show when I do the presentation.

Why is this Idea important? The Idea is important because it will help promote what the Soup does and serve as a small record and keepsake document. I also think it’s important to support small arts projects that focus on the local community.

How would you use the funding from Soup? The funding would go towards the printing costs, and I’d explore supplementing it with funds from elsewhere, such as sponsorship, donations or crowdfunding. There are a couple of newsprint publishers that do short print runs – the cost depends on a number of variables such as page size, number of pages, type of paper (including recycled), and print run.

Your Idea takes off; what’s happening 6 months from now? Within six months of being funded, the project could be printed and distributed. Hopefully there would be enough for Southend Soupers to receive a copy each, plus some could be sent out to other affiliated Soups and some could be used as a promotional tool. If I am not able to raise enough funds we could consider asking for a nominal amount, say £1 per copy, to supplement cost.

Idea 3: Expanding Community Allotment for families

Describe your Good Idea: The Southend in Transition Community Allotment on Hamstel Road runs Taster Days usually 2nd Sat and 4th Sun of every month. This is where people get together, learn to grow delicious and healthy fruit and veg, connect with others over a cuppa, enjoy nature and get a little respite from everyday life.

We are currently extending the family plot, which is enclosed by higher beds, to allow even small children to enjoy the allotment safely.

We are looking to build a play area within the family plot – thoughts go along the lines of a train-shaped plant bed, a wormery, a sensory barefoot path… For this we need to get some materials such as wood, bits of perspex, etc. We are also looking to get some child sized gardening tools and gloves.

We are also always looking for volunteers, everyone is welcome, but if you’re handy with power tools, that would be a bonus!

Why is this Idea important? I’ve found out about the community allotment from a previous Soup and have been going as often as possible, together with my young daughter. I have been (somewhat unknowingly) yearning for community as well as nature at that time and have found both of this here, which has given me a great sense of well being. My daughter also loves coming here, digging in thesoil (and making mud), looking for bugs and picking blackberries from the nearby bushes.

Expanding the family plot will help more parents to experience this, and will teach children from a young age how fun and enjoyable it is to eat something you have grown yourself!

How would you use the funding from Soup? We would invest in children’s gardening tools as well as some play equipment.

Your Idea takes off; what’s happening 6 months from now? We will have finished the family plot to a degree where more families attend. We are also looking at opening up one afternoon during the week for an after school session.

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