Dudley SOUP: Exposing curious people to great ideas to bring an international movement to Dudley

Dudley CVS had come across an interesting project initiated in Detroit which celebrates and supports creative projects through micro-funding community dinners. Detroit SOUP promotes connection and change in a place through crowdfunding, creativity, collaboration, democracy, trust and fun. A few people in Dudley respond really positively when we mentioned SOUP – their eyes lit up at the thought of a SOUP dinner in Dudley, or got genuine interest from local people by sharing the idea on social media.

We put some information about SOUP in a blog and did an open call for anyone interested in getting involved in starting Dudley SOUP. We thought about the sorts of skills and interests needed and kept sharing and sharing on social media, saying we already had much of what we needed (a borough jam-packed with people with creative ideas and aspirations to run great projects, a hall at DY1 that could be used for free to hold SOUP events, instructions on how to start a SOUP from Detroit and friends in Birmingham who had started a SOUP in 2015). So all we needed was a team of people combining leadership flair, creative awesomeness, web wizardry, storytelling mastery, soup making spells and a sixth sense for finding hidden treasure.

10 individuals responded to the open call and we facilitated a 2 hour session in which they formed a SOUP team, took on roles and agreed a way forward.

The simple act of bringing people together around an idea like SOUP led to someone who had never been active in the community to get involved, and people who do a lot in Dudley’s voluntary sector through their work to get involved in activity which they clearly saw as ‘not work’. The Dudley SOUP team formed in April 2016, launched online the same month, and held 3 micro-granting dinners between September 2016 and March 2017.

The following is feedback from SOUP participants

SOUP creates opportunities to…
“bring people together in a community & to share knowledge”
“realise the ideas people have to make a stronger and resilient community”
“realise how fantastic people are”


The thing I value most about SOUP is…
“The non-judgemental nature & acceptance of everyone.”
“That it is happening & celebrating Dudley.”
“It’s a bit of a beacon of good stuff & good people that challenges perceptions about Dudley.”
“people come along because they care about others.”
“community and possibilities.”
“being part of it”

One of the Dudley SOUP team, Helen, had never been active in the community. She tells the story of how she was inspired to get involved, saying “I was really drawn to the simplicity of it and the fact that someone with a spark of an idea can walk away with a little money to use to make a difference within their community.” You can read Helen’s story in full here.

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