Reading SOUP was delighted to welcome over 40 SOUP-ers to our latest soup dinner on Wednesday 15 March. The event saw £210 of community funding, raised from our audience, donated to Berkshire Women’s Aid.

Our souper (sorry!) evening was also a celebration of International Women’s Day and the 2017 #beboldforchange campaign. Therefore, our three pitchers this month were all empowering local projects, helping people in Reading to change their lives.

TransforME at Reading SOUP
Des from TransforME pitches at Reading SOUP

Our three presenters were:

  • Joe Lally, a trustee from ABC to Read, an organisation who help school children improve their reading skills and discover a love for literacy.
  • Jan Cooper, one of the founding board members of Berkshire Women’s Aid, who work against domestic abuse and violence in Reading and Berkshire.
  • Despina Hapeshis (Des) of TransforME, who shared inspiring testimonies from young women who have found support through mental and physical health issues through her affordable exercise community.

Our audience listened, asked questions and debated over their soup before voting with their SOUP tokens (really milk bottle tops) for Berkshire Women’s Aid to win the crowd-funded donation of £210.

Every penny of the donation money comes from the event entry fee, of £5 per person.

Jan from Berkshire Women’s Aid accepting their winning donation

We also heard an update from last event’s funding winner, Victoria from ACRE (the Alliance for Cohesion and Racial Equality). ACRE won £250 at our January event, and have since used it towards a dedicated project to raise awareness of Female Genital Mutilation prevention in Reading. Our donation has so far been used to conduct research in the Reading area and towards direct case work with Reading women and girls who have been through FGM. Look out for a full update with Victoria in an upcoming Community Spotlight on our blog.

Morroccan Chickpea soup at Reading SOUP_1
SOUP’s up: A loaded bowl of Moroccan Chickpea Soup, with croutons and flatbreads

After the pitches, we all enjoyed two delicious vegan soups: Potato and Parsnip Soup with crispy croutons, and a zingy Moroccan Chickpea with toasted flatbread.

Yun-Yun Li artist Reading SOUP
Artist’s corner: Yun-Yun Li with her work ‘Rice, Border, Rights’.

After we’d all had our fill of soup, we took in artworks from artist Yun-Yun Li. Originally from Taiwan, Yun-Yun is currently completing her Masters in Fine Art at Reading University. Inspired by a visit to the Berlin Wall, her main work, ‘Rice, Border, Rights’, is completed with spray paint and rice on canvas, to reflect her perspective of the ties, and differences between the east and west.

And to round off a really great celebration of International Women’s Day, we were entertained with a soulful set from creative Reading-based singer-songwriter Cat Brooks.

Listen to ‘This Moment’ by Cat Brooks, here:

Thanks to all those who came, pitched and donated at our March event, you all helped us make another great Reading SOUP evening.

Our next SOUP event takes place on Wednesday 17 May. We’d love you to join us. Come along and check out Reading’s leading community crowd funding event! Find out all the details and how to attend here.

Can I pitch at Reading SOUP?

Yes! We’re still on the look out for projects to pitch at our May event. If you’d  like to apply to be one of our pitchers, fill in our online application form.

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