Last night we held our first Huddersfield SOUP. Here's how it went...

Thank you Huddersfield! We were thrilled by the support we received for the first ever Huddersfield SOUP. The event was fully booked with a standby queue of people hoping they would get in (they did). With 70 people in Café Ollo we got started with a welcome from our compere for the evening, Rebecca Legg.

The first pitch of the evening was from Serena Johnson and Sophie Simpson of Conscious Youth UK . They used their four minutes to make an impassioned plea to the audience to support their project Stepping Up and Stepping Out. The project aims to create the next generation of leaders who come from unconventional, disadvantaged backgrounds and help them to transfer their skills into mainstream society. They hope to do this through a bespoke 6-12 week workshop which is focused on understanding, renewing and developing their mind-set.

Next up was Amy Hirst and Rachael Walker from The Making Space pitching their project When Robots Meet Puppets, a pilot to run a cross-disciplinary family friendly workshop that explores computer programming with BBC micro:bits and traditional puppet making techniques. Using The Making Space as a base, the Huddersfield Open Market would be used for sourcing materials and inspiration with participants being sent on treasure hunts around the market to search for interesting materials.

The third pitch came from Christine Renshaw on behalf of the Welcome Centre. The Welcome Centre already provides over 8000 food packages a year to vulnerable people facing immediate life crisis, but there is more that can be done to support these people. The project Lifting People Out of Crisis provides access to a support worker to give immediate supplementary support and advice to people but no money for resources. Christine made a moving pitch to assist with transportation costs for people to meet the support worker and to provide up to date printed information packs to enable people to help themselves beyond the crisis.

Finally we heard from Chas Ball. With years of experience developing innovative projects that encourage environmentally responsible behaviour, Chas pitched his project KRATE (Kirklees Recycling at Events). The project aims to provide mobile recycling units for large events and festivals in Kirklees while also raising awareness of general waste reduction.

While everyone discussed the pitches and deliberated on which one would get their vote they also made their to get some actual soup — a choice of two delicious soups provided and served by Lee and Laura from Zephyr Bar and Kitchen. Meanwhile Joby Hardwick, who is no stranger to performing at Cafe Ollo, performed a beautiful acoustic set of songs as the final vote tokens were being dropped into our custom made voting box.

As the votes were being counted we were treated to two surprise presentations. First we had a commercial bribe from Fettle Animation who provided cakes for the evening in return for a 60 second promotional pitch for their new project Little Jokers, a new YouTube channel of jokes told by children and animated by the award winning team at Fettle. Then we enjoyed a bonus pitch, the fifth place entry that while not qualifying for the vote, was worth hearing. Mason Rowbottom pitched his project, CAD PAD, a service that will enable people to easily turn their once two-dimensional ideas into a three-dimensional design and even a physical 3-D printed prototype.

Finally it was time to announce the winner of the first Huddersfield SOUP. With all the pitchers on the stage it was announced that the winners of the first Huddersfield SOUP micro-grant were Conscious Youth UK for their project Stepping Up and Stepping Out. We are so excited for them and can’t wait to follow them as they develop their project.

It was a great night. But of course it couldn’t have happened without a great deal of hard work and generosity from a number of people including the team at The Media Centre and Cafe Ollo, Rebecca Legg, Lee Alderman and everyone at Zephyr Bar and Kitchen, Joby Hardwick, Heather at Northern Exposure Photography, Diane Sims, Chris at Kirklees Markets, James at Miln, Pennie and Jonny at Sheffield SOUP, Ian at The Designer’s Republic, Neil at Blacksmith Marketing and all 23 of our shortlisting judges.

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