Soup: where food, music and social conscience meet
Giving local charities a platform, musicians a venue and audiences something to feast their eyes, and their mouths, on – Soup is proving to be a win/win combination for all
A good bowl of soup often brings about a warm feeling inside, but a new charity night taking Scotland by storm is giving that sensation a whole meaning.
Started in Edinburgh, but now running in Glasgow, Aberdeen, Stirling and Inverness, Soup nights ask you to support your local community by eating tasty food and listening to great music, all for a fiver. Sound like a good deal? It is.
At the recent Edinburgh Soup on Burns' Night, (the sixth event since they started in July 2015), we were treated to a large bowl of delicious soup made by Union of Genius served in eco-friendly Vegware, delicious cakes from the Wee Boulangerie and All About Patisserie, and a wee dram of Glengoyne Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky.
Each of these partners donated their products, expertise and time for free. So too did Assembly Roxy who provided the venue, Rabbie's Trail Burners who sweeten the pot with £300 at every Edinburgh Soup, and the three musical acts who kept us all entertained.
From the dusky vocals of The Humors and the folksy-rocking catchiness of Ber, to the full-on rhythm and blues brilliance of The Blueswater, it was the night that kept on giving. And we haven't even got to the important part yet.
In exchange for your fiver (or more, if you're feeling generous), you're handed a voting slip with four boxes. A small piece of paper with huge potential to change lives. Because in-between the second and third musical act, the real stars of the show walk out: four local charities that are working with minimal budgets to affect maximum change.
With everyone involved giving their time for free – including intrepid organisers Rob and Phil, who put their heart and soul into this – the pot up for grab on the night was a not insubstantial £1,228.
We heard powerful pleas for the cash from Street Assist who care for vulnerable people alone at night on the streets of Edinburgh, The Welcoming, a project which supports migrants and refugees through classes and cultural activities, The Broomhouse Centre who work with families in one of the city's most deprived areas, and Edinburgh Garden Partners, a charity that matches keen volunteer gardeners with people who own outdoor space they can't care for.
Being forced to choose between them was the only unpleasant part of the night. Ultimately, The Broomhouse Centre walked away with our donations – but in reality, everyone was a winner that night. All the projects had their voice heard and made new connections, the musicians picked up new fans (personally, I can't wait for the next Blueswater gig), the food purveyors found potential new customers – and the rest of us walked away with a warm glow, in more ways than one.