A summer SOUP recap…


Our last Birmingham Soup of the season went off with a bang!

Three projects pitched:

1. Reneta Wallen from LIFT Matters – “a gateway for young people to lift their self-esteem, confidence and empower them to have ambition to succeed, drive and motivation”. Reneta spoke about how many needless deaths were happening in her community, and how she decided she was going to do something about it.


2. Adam Eddleston spoke about Acorn Birmingham – a local chapter of a bigger volunteer organisation that helps communities to build the leadership, capacity and skills of our communities to tackle the vested interests of landlords, for example, and hold decision-makers to account.


3. Raquel Macartney spoke about here art project “Seasons Come And Seasons Go” which helps children to connect with nature and put on exhibitions of their response to the seasons.

We’d suggested a 70s theme, which lead to some interesting food – including vol-au-vents and a dal made by a visiting Nepalese chef!

The whole vibe of the day was warm, focused and incredibly supportive.

Reneta got the most votes and walked away with £145 and a 3-month Mission Birmingham membership of the Impact Hub, which means she can use it as a base two days a month as a base to organise from.


Thanks to everyone who came, cooked, ate, talked, supported, cleared away – and, as always, to Loaf who supplied the delicious bread


We’ve had a lovely break over the summer, and hope you have too. Our next Soup will be on 20th October, 6.30-9.00pm.

If you know of any projects that could do with more awareness (and a bit of cash!) send them to:


The form is super-simple to fill out – not Dragon’s Den!

And if you’re interested in helping Birmingham Soup in any way, just get in touch!

See you in October…

July #BrumSOUP – ideas wanted….

Do you have an idea for  a project, initiative or business that could benefit a community in Birmingham or perhaps your pre-existing idea/business would like some #BrumSOUP love? Your idea can be 25 years old or written on the back of an envelope – as long as it strives to do good in Brum, we would love to hear from you. You don’t need a bank account or a legal status (other than human). The online application is really simple just a couple of questions. If chosen you will be invited to share your idea with the attendees of SOUP on Saturday 23rd July at Impact Hub Birmingham. If you win the majority of votes you get to go home with an envelope full of cash. It really is that simple.

A bit like real-time crowd funding, only with SOUP and cake and a room full of lovely supportive people.

What have you got to lose?

Apply here: https://birminghamsoup.co.uk/submit-a-proposal/

Take to the Soapbox at SOUP

Food is at the heart of Birmingham SOUP events (as the name suggests…). Once we’ve heard pitches from some inspiring local projects, attendees sit down to share a meal together and discuss what they’ve heard.

10557305_10152167048611875_3595436961043145844_nBut – we really want SOUP to be more than just the pitches that make it through to the live events (sadly we can’t have everyone who applies pitch at every event). Our aim is to be a democratic platform for all things making Birmingham to be a better community to be part of, and to provide a space to learn about new goings-on in the city.

Given we’re all about contributing & community, we’d love to invite attendees to bring along food to share with the group – it doesn’t have to be soup! Past attendees have brought salads, cakes and bread to share – you don’t even have to bring a lot, just what you can.

If you are able to bring something to share, we’ll invite you to take to the SOUP soapbox for one minute, to share whatever you’d like with the audience.


It may be something you’re working on, an event you’d like to promote, a cause you’d like to draw attention to; as long as it fits the criteria of benefitting the community of Birmingham, then we’re all ears.

If you would like to bring a dish to share with other supporters just email birminghamsoup [@] gmail.com and let us know what you would like to bring!

Soup 7 – May SOUP raises £240 for a new project

Thanks to everyone that came out to our 7th BrumSOUP at Impact Hub on Saturday. Our all-ages event brought families from across the city to invest £240 in another great project.

Each month we have 4 project pitches for investors to vote on with the winner taking all the money from the door entry. It’s a simple process of real-time democracy and shared food however the hard choice is always which of the great project to vote for. Yesterday was no exception and any of the projects would have been worthy winners but it was Jordanne with a project called Sad Girls Club that took the money.

You can read about the project pitches here.

Our next event is on Thursday 9th June at Impact Hub in Digbeth. Doors open at 6pm and pitches starts at 7pm.

If you are interested in submitting a project idea then it is really simple.
THANK YOU TO… A shout out goes to Erin & Mel from Bearwood Pantry for the delicious SOUPs & Cake, Leonie for the cake stall and LOAF for the bread – and of course to everyone that brought a dish to share.

SOUP May – The 4 pitches; who gets your vote?

As usual this month’s SOUP had 4 project pitches… here’s a snippet from each project application to give you an idea of the variety and type of pitches we receive… who would get your vote?

Shelley Atkinson SOUP May 2016_small

PITCH 01: Shelley Atkinson / Soundtracks of your lives

What is your project? Aiming to use music to reinvigorate and benefit the lives of older people, some of whom may have dementia, or others that simply have limited access to songs from their youth. Music can be healing and interactive and we would like to use the pool of singers and musicians in our community choir to help such members of the community access such therapy. In a nutshell, visiting older members of the community, either in daycare facilities or in their own homes by popping up and providing meaningful and unforgettable soundtracks that shaped their lives.
Research has shown that songs / pieces of music that we learn in our mid to late teens and early twenties stays embedded in our brains and when triggered can have profound effects in helping memory in general. More than this though, older people simply deserve to be entertained. By going back in time and learning the soundtracks to people’s lives that were prominent, using a quick calculation of their age and what was culturally popular in that era when they were in their late teens and early twenties, we want to spread a little joy and hopefully good vibrations (which is what we feel the point of music is) and explore the benefits of this.

How does this project benefit the Birmingham community? Music can be a great form of therapy, can uplift, reinvigorate and, according to great researchers such as Oliver Sachs (author of ‘Musicophilia’), trigger parts of the brain through vibrational stimulation that have otherwise become dormant. Moreover, it simply brings joy. Most people have a love of music (or ‘Musicophilia’) and this is a powerful tool that can bring some sunshine to the lives of any age. We feel that this project would benefit older members of the community and their families ten fold, whilst simultaneously bringing joy and a sense of purpose to the musicians and singers involved.
A sense of pride and meaningful interaction with older people, who are often disregarded in today’s society would also be a knock on effect for the singers and musicians. From previous work we have done in ‘old folk homes’, we have seen people who cannot speak and are largely paralysed shed tears when they hear a song they loved as a youth / young adult. Music is one of the best tools we have of bridging gaps across all sections of societies.

Jordanne SOUP May 2016 Winner_small

PITCH 02: Jordanne Cameron – Da Costa / SAD GIRLS CLUB

What is your project? Sad Girls Club is a collective support group and safe space for people with anxiety led by female “creatives”. It is ran by women for everyone. We believe that anxiety isn’t taken seriously enough in society. We need to have more conversations about anxiety to come up with solutions to a huge barrier that can take over peoples live.
The aim of sad girls club would be to create “anti anxiety packages” filled with grounded
techniques, mindulfulness techniques and just small things that make you a little bit less anxious.
The content would be created by the women in the collective as well as featuring a piece of content from a local community artists who face similar issues. Long term we would like to aim for the anti anxiety boxes to be something that people can subscribe to online and get one sent to their house or to a friend. This makes them shareable and potentially
something that can travel outside of Birmingham and capture a small part of the Birmingham spirit.

How does this project benefit the Birmingham community? Sad Girls Club benefits the Birmingham community because it mirrors the contagious energy that Birmingham has: giving voices to people whose stories are untold. People that suffer from anxiety often can find it overwhelming to explain themselves to people in conventional ways. Talking about anxiety can make you anxious. We want to be able to address the problem with workshops and talks as well as coming up with solutions that are active.

Janet Soup May 2016_small

PITCH 03: Janet Gray / Feed My Creative

What is your project?  My project will be a ‘Creative Arts Studio’ with an aim to bring out the creativity in young people/adults. Some people don’t work well or excel within the education system despite being talented and bad experiences may have put them off wanting to go to college to study fashion/textiles.
It will create a platform for young people to be creative and self-sufficient when their funds are low. It will allow people to be able to make things for themselves or for their home without the need to go to college to study for it.
The project will give people the freedom to learn in a ‘No Limits’ environment and learn basic skills and the means to know how to create things for themselves at a relatively low cost. The project will emphasise sustainability it will show how they can reuse clothing and furniture thus reducing waste.
Ikea have donated textiles from furniture so that this fabric can be reused to upholster furniture. The project will identify the type of products that users would be interested in making such as everyday clothing for themselves, re-upholstering furniture they cannot afford to replace, new bedding because they have not got the funds to buy a complete set. This will help their money go further as I will demonstrate to those on a limited income how to create and repair garments/textile products on a budget.
The main beneficiaries will be young people aged 16yrs – 25yrs although the project will be
accessible to all. I will be offering a service to those on limited incomes and young people from areas such as Erdington, Aston, Newtown, Hockley and Nechells.
I will be targeting users that live in the YMCA in Erdington and Aston as these are disadvantaged young people from various backgrounds who may be on a limited income.

How does this project benefit the Birmingham community? The project will help to up skill some users for work, address social isolation, as it will enable users to meet new people. I would also take the equipment to them rather than having to travel to a studio so that they can feel comfortable in familiar surroundings. They would gain the confidence to make quality products and use specialist machinery confidently and safely. I would also offer a ‘pay as you sew’ service (similar to an Internet café) that users can come to and use resources at a low cost and still be able to access my technical support when needed. I will also offer a short-term machine hire service for users that would be unable to afford to purchase a sewing machine outright.


PITCH 04: Kate & Matt Andrews (Ampersand Projects) / Green Lungs

What is your project? Ampersand Projects will deliver a project that will introduce new arrivals to Birmingham from overseas – specifically those seeking refuge or at a significant social and economic disadvantage – to the city’s parks and green spaces. Often located at the heart of communities, meaningful interaction with these spaces will foster a sense of belonging for new arrivals.
Ampersand Projects will commission an artist to work with participants to embed their experiences in the landscape, and will seek to make artwork with them that will continue beyond the lifespan of the project, creating a legacy that they can share with their relatives and give them a reason to revisit the green space in future and feel invested in it.
In 2014, Birmingham was designated as a biophilic city, which is a biodiverse urban centre that offers its residents plentiful opportunities to interact with nature. Birmingham has 571 parks, more than 3,500 hectares of publicly accessible space, and 250 miles of urban brooks and streams. Sutton Park National Nature Reserve in North Birmingham is the largest urban park in Europe. An objective of this project, and Ampersand Projects initiatives more widely, is to encourage wider use of these spaces by local communities for their wellbeing.
Many of the city’s parks were founded in the Victorian era for the leisure for “the leisure and exercise [of] the ever-burgeoning metropolitan population”. They are often seen as quintessentially ‘English’. However, their horticulture is diverse and has international origins due to the heritage of specimen collection from the Victorian era to the present day. The ecology of Britain is ever-shifting, as is its population and culture. This project will reflect this and help new arrivals their contribution to the rich and diverse makeup of British society.

How does this project benefit the Birmingham community?  Proposed activity could include, but is not limited to, the following which would benefit the community: A new artwork made collaboratively between a professional artist and new arrivals to Birmingham; Workshops designed to engage participants with Birmingham’s parks and green spaces for the benefit of their wellbeing; Exhibition and interpretation material that is accessible to the wider local community of Birmingham, which documents the process behind the creation of the final artwork, the participant’s experiences and the project’s objectives; Online documentation of the project highlighting the experiences of its participants. Volunteer training and skills building opportunities.

If you like the sound of any of these projects, want to see them happen, can help with resources or want to get involved email birminghamsoup[@]gmail.com and we’ll put you in touch.


At SOUP we encourage conversation, sharing information and, of course, sharing food.

If you’d like to bring a dish to the next SOUP this Saturday 21st May then you are very welcome!

Email the team at birminghamsoup@gmail.com and let us know what you can bring!

*Remember we don’t have heating facilities so can’t warm up any food.

**Allergies – we aim to offer a range of foods but if you do have specific allergies then feel free to bring your own dish to eat just in case we can’t provide something suitable.

Saturday all-ages SOUP, new SOUP recipe, SOUPER heroes wanted….

Join us for an all-ages #BrumSOUP lunch this Saturday at Impact Hub Birmingham.

SATURDAY 21st MAY, 2016

Doors open 11am, project pitches at 12noon, food served 1pm, finish 2pm. A £5+ suggested adult donation (£1 per child) at the door gets you entry, a vote for 1-of-4 worthy community projects and some tasty food offerings.

No need to RSVP just turn up on the day. Children’s play area available (children must be supervised).


Cauliflower & Roasted Red Pepper Soup

Serves 6

5 x red bell peppers
1 x large head of cauliflower, cut into florets
2 x onions, chopped
2 x cloves of garlic, crushed
1 x tbsp of rapeseed oil
1 x pinch of red pepper flakes
1 x tsp paprika or smoked paprika
1 x litre of stock (chicken or vegetable)
Crumbled goats cheese, optional

Preheat oven to 200 degrees C.
1. Slice the red peppers in half, lengthwise and remove the seeds and pith. Toss the cauliflower florets and peppers in olive oil and place them on a baking sheet with the peppers sliced side down. Put them both in the preheated oven. Roast them for about 30 minutes until they are nice and soft and the red pepper skins are a bit blackened.

2. Meanwhile, heat some oil in a large saucepan and put in the chopped onion and garlic. Season with some salt and pepper and stir them until they are tender. Add the red pepper flakes and paprika and let it infuse into the onions and garlic for about a minute or two.

3. Once the red peppers and cauliflower are out of the oven, add them straight to the saucepan, including the cooking juices. Then add the stock and let it come to a simmer. Leave to cook for about 10 minutes.

4. Puree with a hand blender until you have the consistency you prefer.

5. Serve with a garnish of crumbled goats cheese.



Do you care about Birmingham? Want to help awesome projects make a difference to our community? Have skills in social media, admin, events or outreach?

Birmingham SOUP are recruiting, all ages welcome, do you want to join the volunteer team?

We’re having a SOUP Open Meeting on 21st May from 2.30-3.30pm (post-SOUP) at Impact Hub Birmingham, Walker Building, 58 Oxford Street, Digbeth, Birmingham, B5 5NR.

At the meeting you can hear all about SOUP, how we organise ourselves and our future plans – including SOUP in a School and our Recipe Zines. We’d love to have you!

Have any questions? Get in touch e: birminghamsoup@gmail.com




The 6th #BrumSOUP winner is…

Last month we celebrated our 6th BrumSOUP winner, Julie of Tasty Waste, we had our first visit from an adorable and very clever guide dog who brought the team from the all-new Dudley SOUP with him and we had a pretty fine array of cakes too.

More about our winnner…

Founder of social enterprise Tasty Waste, Julie Holden, is on a mission to get people to stop wasting their food. By building healthier lives Julie wants to show people that by learning key cookery skills you can use food more effectively and reduce food waste.

“The project involves trialing cookery workshops with a group of beneficiaries in Birmingham. Bringing people together to help them use food more effectively whilst learning basic cookery skills has a number of benefits. Firstly, around a quarter of the food bought in this country ends up in landfill sites. Apart from the obvious waste of resources, this adds to the production of greenhouse gases and the problem of global warming. Teaching people how to use up their leftovers has the potential to help reduce the amount of waste produced in the city.
Secondly, NHS resources continue to be stretched as health problems caused by poor diets, such as type 2 diabetes and obesity, become more common. If Birmingham residents are encouraged to cook from scratch using ingredients this will help them to lead healthier lives”.

Julie’s project also helps to bring communities together and is open to all ages and backgrounds giving those who are isolated or living alone the opportunity to meet new people.

Join us for an all-ages #BrumSOUP lunch next Saturday at Impact Hub Birmingham.

SATURDAY 21st MAY, 2016
Doors open 11am, project pitches at 12noon, food served 1pm, finish 2pm.

A £5+ suggested adult donation (£1 per child) at the door gets you entry, a vote for 1-of-4 worthy community projects and some tasty food offerings.

No need to RSVP just turn up on the day.

Children’s play area available (children must be supervised).

Fancy joining the SOUP team?


Could you be a SOUPer hero?

Do you care about Birmingham? Want to help awesome projects make a difference to our community? Have skills in social media, admin, events or outreach?

Birmingham SOUP are recruiting, all ages welcome, do you want to join the volunteer team?

We’re having a SOUP Open Meeting on 21st May from 2.30-3.30pm (post-SOUP) at Impact Hub Birmingham, Walker Building, 58 Oxford Street, Digbeth, Birmingham, B5 5NR. At the meeting you can hear all about SOUP, how we organise ourselves and our future plans – including SOUP in a School and our Recipe Zines.

We’d love to have you!

Have any questions? Get in touch e: birminghamsoup@gmail.com