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A new crowdfunding project raising money for community organisations in Bath with a simple bowl of soup is off to a flying start.
The first Bath Soup Project, held at Bath College, raised £510 for a peer mentoring scheme run by the Southside Young Advocates.
Guests paid £5 on the door and were served with a free bowl of soup made by the students and a chunk of bread in the Bath College Shrubbery Restaurant.
Pictures by Aaron Eagling-Vose 
After networking, they listened to a pitch from five community organisations and voted on who should receive the money collected.
The Southside Young Advocates are working in local schools to set up a peer mentoring scheme and talk to teachers about bullying.
Kai Fletcher, 17, from the Southside Young Advocates, said: “Bath is a city with a large number of vulnerable young people needing support with complex issues. Southside Young Advocates feel passionately about spreading their message and providing a service in our local communities.
“We know there have been times in our lives where we would have greatly benefitted from a programme similar to what we plan to offer, so we are committed to ensuring others do not experience the same struggles alone.”
Also pitching on the day were Vegmead, the Bath Stroke Support Group, Bath and North East Somerset Dementia Action Alliance and the Work Skills Centre at Three Ways School.
International business students from Bath College are volunteering with the Bath Stroke Support Group and led the pitch for the charity.
Students from the college also gave up their time to serve the soup, provide musical entertainment and document the event with photography and video.
The event attracted plenty of support from local businesses, including Picnic Coffee, Lovejoys, Waitrose, Morrisons, The Thoughtful Bread Company, Mitie, Morgan Brinkhurst Consultancy, Mailboxes ETC and The Business Exchange.
There were a number of important visitors, including the Deputy Mayor, the Chair of Bath and North East Somerset Council, and three visiting peers from the House of Lords.
Julie Poll, Business Connector, Bath & NE Somerset, said: “The Soup Project is a crowd funding event for community projects and originates from Detroit.
“I saw this initiative firstly as an opportunity to bring together people who share a desire for a better community and secondly to fully demonstrate the themes we all focus on in our business connector role – education, employability, enterprise and community cohesion.
“I am most grateful to my fellow team members – Mike Plows, from the Volunteer Centre, Simon Brand (volunteer) and Lucy Beattie, from Bath College.
“It was absolutely fantastic to hear the pitches. The room was buzzing and it was difficult to make a decision on the winning project. In my opinion they were all winners – they are all volunteers trying to do amazing things for their community.”
Lucy Beattie, employability adviser at Bath College, was part of the team working to make the first event a success.
She said: “It was an amazing networking event for people interested in supporting local organisations and a great opportunity for Bath College students to be involved in a real-life project.
“The Southside Young Advocates won £510 with an impressive pitch, but all the charities benefitted. In fact, a local builder spoke to us about resurfacing a car park and building an outdoor seating area for the Works Skills Centre at Three Ways School.”

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