December SOUP

Another inspiring SOUP took place in December with 4 more great projects, a load of lovely investors, some fantastic craft stalls and plenty of festive cheer.

Well done to all of our project pitchers! As usual it was really hard to decide but it was Hannah’s ‘Don’t judge a book by it’s cover’ project that took the money.

Read more about the projects here and if you’re inspired then how about pitching at the next event with our very simple application process?

Hannah – Don’t judge a book by it’s cover
“I can reel off numbers about the increase in rough sleepers in Birmingham but I feel that it’s too easy to distance yourself from these very real problems, particularly when they don’t affect you directly. I think we’ve all noticed the increase in visibility of homeless people in Birmingham in recent months and what has shocked me most is how negative people are about these people.

The story of the homeless man who died on John Bright Street really hit a nerve with me, obviously a horrendous thing to happen but also his lack of identity. ‘The homeless man’, ‘the homeless man died surrounded by filth and drugs’, ‘the homeless man’s body lay for five hours before emergency services were called’. We don’t even know this guy’s name – this man could be a father, someone’s husband, someone’s best friend and he is definitely someone’s son. We know absolutely nothing about this man and he died, cold, alone and without support.

So I have tried to work out how I can help, just a little bit – use my skills to make small steps. Basically if we can prepay for people’s accommodation in hostels or emergency accommodation or ‘pay it forward’ for food or hot drinks. Helping them help themselves – it’s crazy to think that there are so many barriers in place in order for these people to be safe. But where I can help 10 people, 10 of us can help 100 people I was always taught that education is key, and I’m a marketer so my business is storytelling so maybe if I people knew the stories of the guy who plays the whistle outside Tesco express, or the girl who sits on the bridge in Brindley Place who ran away from home, or the exceptional artist who you can find at the top of new street, or the man who jumped into the canal to save some puppies from drowning, maybe they’d have a little more empathy and want to support.
So in true storytelling fashion I want to create a small book to tell the stories of real people currently homeless, their background, their talents, and their aspirations. A portrait of different people, of REAL people who have worth. This book would then be sold with proceeds going towards prepaying for accommodation or food and also encouraging the general public to interact, be empathetic and give a little – whether it be knitting a
hat for someone or paying it forward when they next buy a coffee from Yorks.”

The other projects::::

Felipe – Mother Gardens
“A network of community gardening projects and individual gardeners who grow and share useful plants with one another. Anyone’s garden/allotment plot can become a Mother Garden. Mother Gardens share plants within their own community and with other Mother Gardens across the city. ‘Daughter gardens’ can then become Mother Gardens themselves as the new plants grow and spread and are then shared out.

Through the sharing process we create a mutual aid network working collectively to create community resilience. Aside from sharing plants, Mother Gardens can then also connect through the sharing of skills, and resources, and by disseminating initiatives related to well-being and environmental sustainability. Mother Gardens are key points of connection between the amazing world of projects and ideas working towards the well-being of people and planet, and life in local communities.”

Ann – Birmingham Scrapstore Morsbag Group
“Making fabric bags from leftover and scrap material to replace and cut down the use of plastic bags, Morsbags are given away free to both individuals and groups and projects.”

David – Meet and Greets
We run a session every Tuesday for newly arrived asylum-seeking families who are living in the Stone Road Initial Accommodation. This facility was originally designed for accommodating single women (was the YWCA) and is very cramped accommodation for families with children. We pick up families and take them to a near by Youth Centre and organize activities such as arts and crafts, under 5’s play, football and other games for older children. We have visitors who come and do special activities. Recently we had a group of beauty students doing make overs, a barber and a masseuse. We also cook and serve a vegetarian hot lunch feeding on average over 70 people per week. We distribute donated clothes, toiletries, sanitary towels, and toys for children. We have a pool of around 20 volunteers who help cook, supervise children and clear up.”

THE NEXT SOUP is on Tuesday 14th Feb at Impact Hub – doors open at 6pm and it starts at 7pm. Come along, bring some food to share, invest in a new project and share the LOVE!!!!

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