DOZENS of people packed into the Beehive Resource Centre in Grays on Friday (9 September) to hear from six social entrepreneurs in the first Thurrock Soup Event.
The Big Local, the National Lottery funded organisation, along with Thurrock Council’s business team hosted the evening.
Portfolio Holder for Communities, Cllr Deb Stewart explained how the event works. She said: “It is a really simple concept.
“You turn up and pay Â£5 at the door. For a fiver you get a hot bowl of soup – donated by a local farmer – a roll and a vote.
“Once everybody had tucked into their food, we heard from six people who had social enterprise ideas.
“The ideas were fantastic! We heard about turning unused patches of land into community crop growing spaces, to projects to support the research of bees and their health benefits, a community equipment share scheme, an alternative school idea called ‘Forest Schools’ as well as an idea to reduce obesity through education.”
But there was one winner who took the cash home on the evening – Connor who wanted to see young people access opportunities through music.
Cllr Stewart said: “A big congratulations to everybody but it was particularly heart-warming to hear that Connor walked away from tonight with Â£120 – which when you do the maths, works out to be more money than should have been in the pot for how many people were in the room.”
Connor will be invited to return back to an event in six months’ time so we can hear how his project is getting on.
Cllr Stewart continued: “The best part of the whole evening wasn’t really who won the money and who didn’t. The conversations which took part between the audience was much more powerful – like, the person who wanted to get more crops in East Tilbury was talking about how bee keeping could support his vision.
“And the person who wanted to educate children about food in his war against obesity is running free boot camps at Hardie Park after speaking to the person who runs the cafÃ© there.”
“I can’t wait for the next event in November.”
Details about the next event are being confirmed but will soon be available at thurrock.gov.uk/events