Continuing in our series “Lifting the Lid” – here is a little summary of Junior SOUP, what it is, who is involved, why we do it and what benefits there have been.

Junior SOUP was a little experiment to see if the concept of Downend SOUP with social enterprise and community engagement could be brought to a younger audience, and if 3 local schools could be encouraged to enter a team of social entrepreneurs into the Junior SOUP event. With the help of volunteers from Christ Church, Jenny Rawling & Ian Browne, and our Children’s leader, Helen Buick this project became something really special.

Pupils from 3 local schools (Bromley Heath Junior School, Staple Hill Primary & Christ Church Juniors) started planning their teams in June 2018. Three ideas for changing the world were announced to the gathered audience at Downend SOUP in October 2018 & teams were then given the “ticket money” from the October SOUP event to put their ideas into action with the view to reporting back 6 months later on their projects.

Bromley Heath Juniors started a plastic bag recycling scheme for their whole school, with the aim to help reduce plastic pollution in the oceans. Staple Hill Primary School wanted to help the homeless, and they organised their whole school to do a Sponsored Junior Parkrun at Page Park. After that, they designed & sold colouring competitions and a treasure trail map for the local area. Our 3rd school, Christ Church Juniors wanted to reduce isolation and loneliness in the elderly and they started a friendship club with the residents at William Court in Overnhill Rd.

Six months passed and then the pupils from the 3 school teams gathered at Christ Church to report back on their projects. This was such an amazing celebration evening, with parents, teachers and the wider community gathering to hear about the 3 projects. There were tears of joy alongside moments to giggle as we heard about the 3 projects. Then the audience celebrated with soup, bread & cakes while they voted for their favourite project.

There was a trophy for the most Entrepreneurial team: Staple Hill Primary – who raised £834 for the homelessness charity The Bristol Soup Run Trust. The Heart award went to Christ Church Junior School, who really pulled at our heart strings with their presentation & the friends they have made at William Court. Overall winners were Bromley Heath Junior School, who are now sharing their plastic bag recycling scheme with other schools, workplaces, churches & organisations.

We didn’t realise how much this project would change our lives. The friendships we made, the gathering of our community together, and ultimately the way these children are continuing to change the world has been inspirational.

Helen Buick