Arts & Culture, Lifestyle

30th October 2021

Help Starts at Home for Liverpool SOUP

I met two friends for the last Liverpool SOUP, at LEAF on Bold St. It was our first time meeting in person after a year of Zoom calls and we had a great time! We met on the ParliaMentors programme and were actively looking at ways to build a social action project in the city. What better friend date than an event where we could relax in a friendly atmosphere, eat great food and help drive funds for a local initiative?!

What is Liverpool SOUP?

Liverpool SOUP was developed to help small, grassroots projects in Liverpool who can strengthen the community. It gives them a platform to speak about their projects and the opportunity to gain funds to pursue their cause. Detroit SOUP inspired them, who have raised almost $150,000 for local projects since their conception in 2010. 

​The SOUP is a non-profit, holding micro-funding events four times a year. Local projects pitch to you for why they need funding and what they will use it for – a bit like Dragons Den. You pay a donation at the door of as much as you can afford and all entry donations are given to the winner! Where does the soup come in? We also got a delicious bowl of soup and artisanal bread so great it even got compliments from the chef who presented. There was also fab music from Meg Shaw, a recent LIPA student.

The Liverpool SOUP event was a lovely evening, I learned so much about the grassroots projects around Liverpool and how to support them. A good evening with great food and entertainment!

Ashley Dempsey

Gather at the Table

The first pitch was by local chef Betty Vandy, known for Bettylicious Cooks – her plant-based African cooking. Gather at the Table is a space for women and girls in Liverpool to come together, cook and eat. It uses surplus vegetables from regional growers and ingredients from independent businesses. The plan is to make use of high quality resources that would otherwise be wasted. Betty spoke about encouraging creativity and freedom for those in marginalised communities and homes struggling with poverty or abuse. The project has been in the works for a year and would focus on Dingle, Walton, Toxteth and Bootle. She was seeking funding for catering equipment and website development to spread word about the project.

Care Leavers’ Christmas Dinner

There are approximately 675 care leavers in Liverpool, as young as 16, left with no support network and finding themselves on their own at Christmas. A steering group has been working since early 2020 to try and provide a Christmas dinner event for them all! There isn’t currently a scheme like this in Liverpool, although they operate elsewhere in the country supported by Gold From the Stone. The scheme will need help to cover transport costs, as well as presents, gift wrapping and most importantly – the dinner! They are also looking for volunteers to lend a helping hand in the lead up to the event and at the event itself.

Let’s Keep Talking

Let’s Keep Talking began over lockdown whereby local therapists provide a free telephone service, responding to those in need with timely and effective help when they are in distress. So far they have helped over 300 people and have held 3,000 therapeutic conversations. Demand is on the rise as mental health needs become more prominent and they want to improve their capacity by developing an app or digital system to facilitate bookings and give therapists more time to talk and less time performing admin.

Queer the Dancefloor!

A series of DJ workshops for 10 queer identifying people in the Liverpool area, delivered by industry leading queer DJs. They will teach all the skills of DJing, as well as how to promote yourself and begin your career. Mentorship would last for 6 months after the course and culminate in a show and published mixes! Supported by EAT ME, they are looking for funding for marketing, facilitators and venue hire. You can help them out by being an ally to the queer community and sharing information about their initiative.

And the Winner is…

Gather at the Table! Betty receiving the news was amazing; she was visibly blown away and it was really emotional to see. She made her way to the stage to accept the reward and give a speech.

Honestly, thank you so much. I don’t know what to say. Honestly, I didn’t even put this on my Instagram, nobody knows that I’m here. I’d just come back from Africa, I was in Africa for 18 months. I caught Covid when I came back and it was quite difficult and I was homeless for a little bit trying to get myself sorted out.

I’ve got a lovely home now and everything but Africa really changed my trajectory in my confidence, coming back and realising, in Liverpool, I can be here and I can make a difference in the city and I can connect with people, I can work with people.

I can’t believe that just filling in that application and getting it in has got me here today. I just want to thank you so much. The other projects, I think it’s really awesome, what you’re doing and your passion.

I can’t believe it. My friend said to me before, “Where are you?” and I was like, “I’m in town doing this thing” and she was like, “Let me know how you get on” and I was just thinking, just forget it. I’ve got to ring her back and say to her, “Girl, I’ve just won!”.

I just want to say thank you so much, the people that these other organisations work with, I hope that you’ll engage with what I’m doing as well. Let’s somehow make this work in terms of engaging young people, engaging young people that are coming out of care.

I absolutely am blown away at the heart which you’ve seen in me, that really gives me a lot of confidence in that I know I’m making the right decisions and I’m walking the right path, so I just want to say thank you so much. Thank you to the guy that made the bread, as well, because the bread was awesome tonight!

Betty Vandy
Photos by Bryony Lainton for Liverpool Guild Student Media

A fantastic project, that we are super excited to see grow. It was really hard to pick between them all, as everyone showed such passion for their projects and their community. Congratulations to all the pitchers and we hope that they have every success in the future!

Featured Image by Bryony Lainton for Liverpool Guild Student Media