Saturday Night Voting with a Difference.
When it comes to audience participation it doesn’t get much more participatory than at a SOUP event. In a hall of over seventy assembled residents from across Bournemouth this week, this was voting with a difference. Instead of the usual Saturday night entertainment of at-home TV viewers passing judgement on, or voting for light-hearted acts trying their best on stage, this was Bournemouth SOUP, live at the Wellspring Centre in Boscombe, and the voting was meaningful, supportive and community-spirited.
Four chosen projects each got the opportunity to pitch for four minutes, sharing their ideas and projects, with a chance of taking the prize of the cash on the door. The audience then asked questions about the projects; who were they; how they would deliver; what support did they have; how would they benefit Bournemouth; and what they would spend the money on. The pitchers, introduced by Michael French, were from CENTRE MYSELF a group aiming to instil confidence in young women using a holistic approach; COMMUNITY FRIDGE an idea to share quality surplus food that would have been thrown away; CHANCE a group of young teenagers planning a FREE Community cinema for local families; SAMEE who are developing skills for young people to find alternative routes into work.
Once the audience had heard from the projects they enjoyed a delicious community meal of homemade hearty spinach and onion soup accompanied by crusty pesto-topped bread, lovingly chopped and prepared by a team of volunteers headed by Ally Ginder of Plant Life Foods. Grounded Enterprises and M’s Bakery kindly supplied the ingredients, and Little Pickle Deli provided the equipment. There was an exciting buzz around the tables as everyone took the opportunity to discuss the projects. Families, groups of friends, co-workers and local residents deliberated with each other the merits of who should get their vote, and ultimately scoop the prize to help start their project. It sparked lively debate and intrigue and some tricky decisions had to be made.
Crowd Funding Winners
Votes were cast by each diner placing their empty soup bowl into their chosen project’s labelled washing up bowl. Vote counting was simple – the container with the most washing up would be the winner. There was an even spread to begin with resulting in a very close call between CHANCE and COMMUNITY FRIDGE to take the cash. In the end COMMUNITY FRIDGE were announced as the winners and a loud cheer went up around the room. Jenny Mueller who is heading up the project was delighted as she collected the £377 cash raised on the night. With plans to site the fridge in the Sovereign Centre it is just the lift needed to get the project underway.
One diner Ruth from Christchurch thoroughly enjoyed the event “When I left I had eaten well, met some wonderful people and been impressed by the extent of the commitment and energy of a lot of people of all ages. I did vote for the Fridge as I hate waste and I could see that their idea would work and I can’t wait for the next Soup.”
Bournemouth SOUP, based on a format established in Detroit, was organised by a small collaborative group of passionate, community-spirited, creative individuals galvanised by Daisy Carr, from Bournemouth Scene who also compered the evening to ensure everything ran smoothly. Not only did the winning pitch go away from the event with the money, but support was also offered to the other projects from members of the audience, ideas were shared and partnerships formed. Plans are already afoot to host a follow up event and the team would love to hear from anyone who would like to be involved in hosting or supporting the event or putting forward a pitch for their own chance to win a share of the next SOUP money.
Contact Bournemouth Scene for more information.