Social Responsibility

Soup...What? Why?

Wed, 20 Apr 2016 11:30:00 BST

A group of enterprising students from Alliance Manchester Business School have been busy organising and hosting ‘Rusholme SOUP’ events on behalf of local social enterprise Healthy Me, Healthy Communities. ‘SOUPS’ are collaborative community initiatives offering suppers to raise money for micro-funding neighbourhood projects. The SOUPs enable local people or community groups to pitch ideas that they believe will create positive community change.

The first ever Rusholme SOUP took place on a March evening at Birch Community Centre in Rusholme. Local people and representatives came along, paying a small entrance donation to find out about the community projects chosen to pitch, share food, listen to live music and vote on the best project to fund. The £258 raised through the donations went towards funding the winning idea which was the setting up of a community shop by the Anson Residents’ Community House. Local residents will pay £2.50 a week to purchase up to 12 items of food/everyday goods from the community shop, with the aim that the residents will no longer have to rely on food banks.

Since the event, Sammy Minshull from Anson Residents’ Community House has bought vegetable baskets, shopping baskets, a counter and a till for the shop. Sammy said: ”It was fantastic winning the Rusholme SOUP. It was a lovely evening, thanks to everyone involved especially for choosing the Anson community shop as the winner of the night. A big thank you to the students, they did a great job.”

Olivia Evans, who studies International Management with American Business Studies and is part of the student group said: “Our hope and belief is that this project will not only provide a source of funding for local projects, but that all local stakeholders will benefit as a result of the events. Our SOUP brought local people together for an evening of entertainment, food and discussion and we believe that the project will help strengthen community engagement in the area and bring value through the funded projects.”

All the students involved are organising the SOUPs as part of a Consultancy course project sourced and supported by staff from the University’s Student Development and Community Engagement Division. Olivia continued: “As business students, the consulting project has been a great opportunity for us to develop a wide range of academic, business and interpersonal skills. We now understand the importance of crowd funding at a local level and the value that community projects can have, and for some, the project has shaped future career aspirations. It is our hope to see a long and sustainable future for Rusholme SOUP!”

Rich Browning, Chief Executive at Healthy Me, Healthy Communities said: “The students have taken an idea and made it happen with their passion, hard work and most of all their expertise in project-planning, business engagement and marketing. Without the students the first Rusholme SOUP would not have been the success it was. It was an amazing event with so much energy, conversation and excitement.”

The next Rusholme SOUP will take place on Wednesday 4 May at the Birch Community Centre, Brighton Grove, Manchester, M14 5JT with doors opening at 6:30pm. If anyone fancies coming along to support the initiative, find out about the great community projects and placing your vote, you will be very welcome.

As Rich Browning says: “The Rusholme SOUP has been amazing at bringing the community together, sharing ideas and raising funds for local projects, helping to make Rusholme a better place for everyone.”

To find out more, please see the Rusholme Soup website, like the Facebook page or follow us on Twitter.

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