Mossley is a former mill-town on the outskirts of Greater Manchester. As well as a rich heritage, the town has an active voluntary-sector. There are many voluntary groups engaged with young people, elderly residents, the environment, sport, art and community events.
Back in 2016, after some initial discussions, it was clear that some of these groups were thriving whilst others struggled to attract funding, volunteers or expertise to enable their work to continue and grow.
Mossley SOUP was launched in January 2017 with the aim of hosting a series of events to promote, fundraise and support local projects that benefit the people of Mossley. The concept was based on the Detroit SOUP model of community-based development through crowdfunding, creativity, collaboration, democracy, trust and fun.
Mossley SOUP aims to promote, fundraise and support local projects that benefit the people of Mossley. Through SOUP events, open to anyone, attendees make a £5 donation and receive soup, bread, hear four presentations and then vote on the project they think benefits Mossley the most.
Each presenter has four minutes to share their idea and answer four questions from the audience. At the event, attendees eat, enjoy a local artist or band, learn about local projects, talk, share ideas and vote for their favourite project.
At the end of the night, the votes are counted and the winner goes home with all of the money raised to carry out their project. Winners come back to a future Mossley SOUP event to report on their project’s progress.
The Mossley SOUP organising group is made up of 10 volunteers from the local area. Three of these members are part of the Emmaus Mossley community (1 companion and 2 staff members).
Each Mossley SOUP event is supported by a wider volunteer team. Typically, between 10 and 15 Emmaus Mossley community members volunteer their time. Between 5 and 10 other people volunteer at each event, for example musicians, soup makers and cake makers.
All Mossley SOUP events have people from 4 local groups presenting. Each event also attracts between 115 and 220 attendees who make a donation on the door and vote for their preferred project.
Mossley SOUP receives support from a variety of partner organisations. Emmaus Mossley offers the room hire and kitchen facilities for free to enable all of the money raised at the event to go to the winning project.
Ingredients for the soups are donated by local businesses. These include A. Taylor & Son Family Butchers, JW Buckley’s Bakery, Co-op Mossley and greengrocers R Noone & Son.
Each event is sponsored by a local organisation which adds between £100 and £200 to the winner’s pot. Past event sponsors have included Tameside Rotary, Premier Automotive, The Pet Care Company and Harold Stock & Co Solicitors.
All events have a fundraising raffle with prizes donated by local businesses. These have included Body & Mind Therapy Centre, Doodle Pots, Dinnerstone Restaurant, Donkeystone Brewery, The Gillery, Grail Distillery, The Railway Fish & Chips, The Allotment Cafe and The White Hart.
Attendees line up for Mossley SOUP #6
Mossley SOUP is based on the Detroit SOUP model of community-based development through crowdfunding, creativity, collaboration, democracy, trust and fun. Since launching in 2010, the Detroit SOUP concept has been replicated in towns and cities across the world.
A full house of supporters at the first Mossley SOUP ©Allan Bentley
In Mossley, initial discussions were held in December 2016 about starting to organise SOUP events in the town. Quite quickly, an organising group was formed of people with different skills and connections within the town.
Mossley SOUP presenters Rachel Bean, Tony Jackson, Rachel Summerscales and Nina Vanessa Smith ©Allan Bentley
Mossley SOUP officially launched in January 2017 and the first event took place in March 2017. More than 130 people attended the first event and many more successful events have following since.
Rachel Summerscales presenting at Mossley SOUP #4 ©Postbox Photography Studio
Symon Randall presenting Mossley Town Team Stewards at Mossley SOUP #4 ©Postbox Photography Studio
Soup being served at Mossley SOUP #6
Diners listen in at Mossley SOUP #7
A full house at Mossley SOUP #7
More than 170 Mossley SOUP attendees listen in at the 10th event
Mossley SOUP will continue to host events each year – currently three per year.
The organising group has discussed ways to increase the impact and broaden the scope of support. This may include having a future Mossley SOUP event specifically focussed on supporting local businesses, either existing ones or new start-up businesses.
As of April 2020, ten Mossley SOUP events have been organised, raising more than £10,000 for local projects. As well as raising money for the winning project, each event brings people together to chat, learn and make connections. Other projects that have been presented at Mossley SOUP but have not secured the most votes, typically benefit through increased awareness, new volunteers and even one-off donations from individuals.
Here is a list of the winners from each event and the amounts raised.
Mossley SOUP #1 – Mossley Horticultural Show – £670
Mossley SOUP #2 – Save Our Community Spaces (SOCS) – £545
Mossley SOUP #3 – Tots R Us Playgroup – £639
Mossley SOUP #4 – Mossley Town Team Stewards – £824
Mossley SOUP #5 – Mossley Social Club for Disabled Adults – £930
Mossley SOUP #6 – Mossley Skatepark Development – £1,216
Mossley SOUP #7 – Micklehurst Cricket Club Junior Section – £1,726
Mossley SOUP #8 – Micklehurst Estate Residents Association – £1,229
Mossley SOUP #9 – Town Centre Plantings – £1,346
Mossley SOUP #10 – Mini Meditators AN – £1,346
The work of the Mossley SOUP organising group and the project impact could be categorised in all three of the Emmaus struggles. The primary category would most likely be ‘universal citizenship’ because Mossley SOUP encourages everyone to play an active part in their local community.
Mossley SOUP is built on connections to individuals, groups, projects and businesses. New stakeholders get involved all the time, either wanting to present their idea at an event, start as a volunteer or by offering to support an event in some way.
Each Mossley SOUP event generates publicity in the local media. The founder of Detroit SOUP has visited Mossley to learn more about Mossley SOUP.
The current model for Mossley SOUP is sustainable and requires no additional needs. The organising group is looking at different ways to engage people and projects within the town, and the expand the support that SOUP can offer.
Mossley SOUP is always open to new partner organisations getting involved to support each event.