November will see the first of a new type of event for the co-operative movement, based on the success of Community SOUP events in the United States.
A SOUP is quite simple - it is a dinner and a live crowdfunding event rolled into one. It costs £5 to attend, and for that you get a bowl of soup, some bread, and a vote. The evening starts with four presentations, chosen by the organising group, of projects that are seeking funding to get off the ground. Once the presentations are over, dinner is served and everyone discusses the projects. Finally, everyone votes on which project they think will benefit their community the most, and the winner takes all of the door money.
It is a direct, communitarian event built on principles of control and participation. Projects have to be demonstrably co-operative and UK-based, and all presentations are given without the use of technology. SolidFund members voted to make a grant of £300, with matching sponsorship from SUMA, to support the event, organised by the Young Co-operators Network.