Glasgow Soup Put On to Boil

Nothing says love or family quite like a bowl of soup, right? Of course not, but a bowl of soup and £500 to a local charity screams it from the top of The People’s Palace.

Calton Heritage & Learning Centre hosted its first ever “Glasgow Soup” event on Thursday 17th November, a crowdfunding initiative committed to supporting charities that help their local communities. Each person in attendance makes a recommended donation of at least £5, and with that they get some soup and the chance to help their neighbour. Four East-End charities pitched how they would use the funds, and after filling up on soup and having a raffle, everyone voted for who they want to see receive the money. This format may conjure up images of a X-Factor-esque, sob story laden, winner-takes-all competition, but nothing could be further from the truth. Each and every charity gave a wonderful account of themselves and raised invaluable awareness of what they do, not least Spoon, who not only provided us with the soup but also give adults with learning difficulties a chance at gainful employment.

First up was Indepen-dance – a dance company so committed to the inclusion of people with disabilities that their pitch was led by the charismatic Neil and Adam, both professional artists employed by the charity who have down syndrome. They give people who are far too often ostracised the chance to fulfil their potential and have fun doing so.

PEEK followed, promoting their youth theatre project, aimed at giving children born into one of the most deprived areas of Glasgow a chance to learn the value of expressing themselves and giving them a safe place to do so. They run frequent events within the community, with a choir recital at St Luke’s coming up on the 11th of December.

Then came the Re-Tune Project. After witnessing first-hand the damage that addiction and mental health issues can cause, David McHarg set up the programme that gifts a second chance to society’s forgotten members by teaching how to make a guitar from salvaged wood – the perfect metaphor for one’s road to recovery.

Finally came Walter Brown, who runs a creative therapy group at Kelvin College’s East-End campus. Walter was himself an alcoholic who bravely took it upon himself to provide a place for people with addiction problems, or simply those suffering from social isolation, to find not just an outlet, but a community in which they can recapture their sense of belonging.

The charity lucky enough to win the £500 kitty was the Re-Tune project, who plan to use the money to expand their workshop and therefore their outreach. Though they were worthy winners, every charity deserves the support of their community and the acclaim of the city.

At the risk of sounding melodramatic, the evening was a triumph for humanity; in a humble community centre in Glasgow’s East End, people gathered to help one another out of nothing more than love for the people they live with. In an area so deprived that life expectancy can fail to reach 60, locals found strength in one another. For just £5, the warm glow from Glasgow Soup goes a long way.

The next Glasgow Soup event will take place on the 23rd of March at Calton Heritage and Learning Centre from 6 to 9pm. You can find Glasgow Soup on Facebook and Twitter @GlasgowSoup
[Eamon Ewins]

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