SOUP! is back and Wells St John Ambulance cadets take top spot

The long-awaited return of the popular SOUP! grant-funding lunch attracted more than fifty people through the rain on Saturday to the Connect Centre, all eager to hear the four Wells-based community groups, to meet up with old friends, and to sample the delicious soups prepared free of charge by students at Wells Blue School.

First to speak was Ruth Knagg from We Hear You (WHY) who won £400 at the last SOUP! in January last year. They offer counselling to people suffering from cancer and the money from SOUP! went to fund 16 counselling sessions, she said, going on to read out examples of thankyou letters that WHY have received from patients and carers.

Wells St John Ambulance were seeking funds to help their cadet training programme and their outreach work with schools and communities. James Peters, 15, one of their cadets, spoke enthusiasticly about his experiences.

Children’s World use the arts and entertainment to connect with vulnerable people. Led by Jessica Hirst, four members put on a delightful short performance, in costume, showing the kind of work they do.

Tanya Climo presented the work of the Mendip Fibromyalgia Support Group with a moving address describing the debilitating effect of the disease on sufferers like herself and the importance of the support they offer.

Trisha Fine spoke as a street coordinator for Neighbourhood Watch in Wells, her own street’s experience of car crime, and how residents joining Neighbourhood Watch can deter vandals and burglars, as well as keeping them informed about doorstep and phone scams. The local team would like to see every street in Wells join the scheme.

After everyone present voted for their favourite, St John Ambulance was pronounced the winner of a cheque for £375 with the other three winning £125 each.

Probusiness, the accountants in Chamberlain Street, donated £350 towards the day’s prize money, Waitrose provided all the ingreedients for the soups, Burns the Bread the bread rolls, Santé the red wine, Morrisons the soft drinks and white wine and every penny of the £5 each member of the public paid goes into the prize money

SOUP! is organised every quarter by Wells Independents, with the next one planned for Saturday January 15th.

These SOUP! lunches have now raised funds for 67 local community groups.

MONEY is tight for charities but four good causes came away with cheques on Saturday October 14th 2019

Each explained what they do to a full house at the latest Wells SOUP.

Then the 70-strong audience voted with Wells Bipolar Support Group gaining most and leaving with £350.

The remaining £350 raised through the lunch event was shared equally between Wells City Carnival, Wells Macular Group and the Wells Home Library Group.

Master of ceremonies at the SOUP was Simon Lawder, who thanked Burns the Bread who sponsored the event and gave the 70 bread rolls. Also Santé, in Wells High Street, who donated the wine, Morrisons for the soft drinks, and the Wells Blue School catering students who made the delicious choice of soups from ingredients given by Waitrose.

Peter Mullins from Wells Macular Group told the event in Seager Hall, Union Street, Wells: “We arrange speakers from various organisations and visits for lunch, usually. Lunch is always a great pleasure for them. It’s an expensive business to organise these trips. We’d spend the money on future visits to places of interest with lunch. We’d hope to reimburse most people’s costs for Christmas lunch.”

Kirsty Jenssen of Wells Home Library Service said: “Our service is about supporting and enriching people’s lives through the power of books. It’s also about befriending and spending time with someone. We’re here to support our volunteers as well.”

Maurice Day from Wells City Carnival explained how street pedlars were undermining the carnival’s income and said: “The carnival is a very expensive thing to put on. I’m here for the money. We’re going to spend it. It costs £15,000 to £17,000 a year to put the carnival on.”

The representative of Wells Bipolar Support Group was taken ill so her presentation was read by Ross Young. It said: “The twin moods of mania and depression take its toll. A bipolar sufferer called Jeremy said how going to the group made the difference between life and death to him. Our vision is that anyone affected by bipolar can get the support they need when they need it.”

Wells SOUP is organised three or four times a year by Wells Independents, a non-party political group who work as volunteers to make a difference in the city.

So far 27 local good causes have benefited from Wells SOUP, financially and also through being given the chance to raise their profile and explain what they do.



SATURDAY July 8th saw the sixth SOUP organised by Wells Independents and again everyone was a winner.

Four more charities presented at the Seager Hall to an assembled audience of more than 60 and the Lawrence Centre in Chamberlain Street accumulated the most votes, earning them £325.

The three other charities did not go away empty-handed and collected £110 each for their causes – Friends of Mendip Hospital Cemetery, the local branch of Guide Dogs for the Blind and TS5C which supports young sports people in Somerset to reach their highest goals.

The audience each paid £5 on the door for delicious soup generously provided by Sadler’s Brasserie at the White Hart, fresh bread and beverages donated by Waitrose and Morrisons respectively. Wells Independents are also hugely grateful to Chubb Bulleid solicitors who sponsored the event to the tune of £350.

Entertainment was provided by Jane Harwood of charity Count Me In who started the presentations with a demonstration of how they provide support for young people with additional needs through music. Count Me In were the “winners” at April’s SOUP.