SoupFest soup-er-stars return

Soupfest volunteers at last year's event

Following the success of last year’s inaugural SoupFest Bedford, the charity take-over of Harpur Square will back on Tuesday 27 November – serving up amazing soups to raise money for homeless charities.

Once again, Bedford’s chefs will be creating their signature soups to be sold from the Soupfest marquees in Harpur Square from 11am until the tureens run dry. For just £3, customers can purchase a warming cup of soup, knowing that their money will be helping some of Bedford’s most vulnerable people.

The initiative, organised by well-known Bedford businesswoman Emma Garrett, was inspired by a similar event in Jersey, and last year the event raised over £4,500 for Bedford’s homeless. “The joy of SoupFest is that anyone and everyone can be involved in the run-up and on the day, but even if people only have an hour to spare, that will make a difference. They simply need to turn up on the 27th November and pop £3 in the pot as a donation in exchange for soup, bread and some live musical entertainment from local groups and choirs, all curated by the wonderful Kristine Wilkinson Hughes.”

As well as raising money, the event brings Bedford’s small businesses together. Local businesses such as ‘Made by DBM’ who create animations and ‘Mediafix Online’ who are behind the graphic design donate their time and services free of charge. The organising committee is made up entirely of volunteers and chefs and restaurants, for example Paris House Restaurant in Woburn by Phil Fanning, Paul French of the Horse and Jockey in Ravensden, ‘Chilli Olly’ from the Pavilion In The Park are all donating their time. Catering giant Sodexo donate soup, with local bakeries such as Companions Real Bread CIC and Délices, as well as the major supermarkets all donating bread.

Sponsorship for SoupFest 2018 comes from a large number of local businesses such as Sharman Solicitors, LPH Concerts, Bedford Calor Gas Centre and Sycal – but Emma is loath to single any one out. “We have had so much encouragement and support from all manner of organisations – from A-Z quite literally: AB Fruits to Zoedale, and this makes the planning go smoothly. The cookery demo tent is an exciting new addition to the day and we have some brilliant chefs lined up as well as experienced comperes and a BSL interpreter from Access Bedford, signing the demonstrations.”

All proceeds from SoupFest are distributed to the homeless via registered homeless support agencies by the Bedford Homeless Partnership. A number of these agencies will be present on the day such as YMCA, CVS, King’s Arms Project and Emmaus Village Carlton. Information will be available for anyone who would like to find out about the work of these organisations or to volunteer their time or expertise.

This event is part of Bedford Homelessness Week 2018 and has the support of HM Lord Lieutenant Helen Nellis, the Hight Sheriff, Julian Polhill and Dave Hodgson, Mayor.

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