Do you have an idea to promote community based development through crowdfunding?
The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) is taking inspiration from across the pond and working with community supporters from groups such as The Creative Network and The Larder to set up a new crowdfunding project for Preston.
Launching on Wednesday 24 February, Preston Soup aims to follow in the footsteps of the successful Detroit Soup in the US which has so far raised more than £63,000 over the last five years. The concept is simple; for a small donation upon entry (£3.50) attendees receive soup, salad, bread and a vote and hear four presentations covering art, urban agriculture, social justice, social entrepreneurs, education, technology and more. Each presenter has four minutes to share their idea and answer four questions from the audience.
At the event, attendees eat, talk, share resources and vote on the project they think benefits the city the most. At the end of the night, the ballots are counted and the winner goes home with all of the money donated to carry out their project. Winners come back to a future Soup dinner to report on their project’s progress.
"Essentially Preston Soup will be about working with the local community to create an environment where we can swap ideas, work together and share to create a sense of neighbourhood pride by bringing people together."
Successful examples from Detroit Soup range from a new sign for a community centre to a mobile tool lending library on wheels to the promotion of a kids’ summer camp teaching ways to live, eat, and be healthy.
UCLan Enterprise Manager Sally Bate met the founder of Detroit soup Amy Kaherl and representatives from other Soups starting in the UK and thought it would be a great idea to bring to Preston.
Sally commented: “Essentially Preston Soup will be about working with the local community to create an environment where we can swap ideas, work together and share to create a sense of neighbourhood pride by bringing people together with a shared goal of making Preston better.”
Staff and students from three UCLan Schools* have worked with community representatives Nigel Stewart and Caroline Waring from Creative Network and Kay Johnson from The Larder to develop the idea and plan the first Preston Soup on 24 February. The aim is to encourage more community groups and local businesses to get involved to help support future Preston Soup events.
Amy Kaherl, came to UCLan last November to speak about its success. She commented: “It works by giving power back to the local people and finding solutions together. Our Soup meetings attract people from many different backgrounds which makes for a really creative environment and I’m sure Preston will experience the same."
"We’ve seen some very successful projects come out of Soup, namely the Empowerment Plan. This is a not-for-profit organisation which makes coats which convert into sleeping bags for homeless people."
“We’ve seen some very successful projects come out of Soup, namely the Empowerment Plan. This is a not-for-profit organisation which makes coats which convert into sleeping bags for homeless people so it’s exciting to know that setting up initiatives like this can make a big difference to a city.”
The launch of Preston Soup will take place at Dice and Donuts Café, which sits opposite the Railway Station at 6 Butler Street, on the 24 February. The café’s owner, Millie Lavelle, is an active supporter of the UCLan Creative Communities Group which is helping to co-ordinate the new initiative.
Everyone is welcome and people can just turn up on the night with a suggested donation of £3.50. Anyone wanting to propose a project idea needs to contact Preston Soup and submit a proposal before Wednesday 17 February.