Tag Archives | charity

Soup – changing communities over dinner

Soup - changing communities over dinner

It’s Bob and his tale of Gateshead kids shaming parents into litter picking; mixing leftover paint donated from sheds to cover up graffiti and motivating a local community to get together, that wins over the crowd this evening. But everyone at this Soup gathering is lending their support to small actions that lead to positive change.

It’s a simple idea. Turn up and pay £4 on the door. Listen to four people pitch an idea to improve the local or wider community. Presentations are a maximum of four minutes, and the audience can ask up to four questions. Then, as you enjoy some warming soup, decide which of the four causes gets your vote. The winners get the evening’s takings to help fund their project.

Soup, this community crowdfunding initiative, is a global event that started in Detroit. Newcastle’s version is hosted by Ernest, the Ouseburn based independent cafe/bar. They not only generously provide free soup, but also the space to host the event, plus staff to promote it on social media and help out on the night.

When I started my freelance business, I quickly became aware of the brilliant, supportive and largely hidden community of local entrepreneurs who were going it alone, getting out there and getting things done. It’s more than apparent that this positive spirit expands beyond the commercial world into doing good in the community too.

On a November evening I get to hear from:

  • Love Your Avenues who are tackling some of the visible issues around Saltwell, Gateshead to regenerate the area using a combination of creative ideas and people power
  • Acorn who take action to help tenants with housing issues
  • Mindful Therapies who offer donation based mindfulness and counselling services
  • Lendwithcare a crowdfunding initiative to provide loans for people in the developing world, to help them establish or expand a small business and work their way out of poverty.

Okay, so I’m there to support the Lendwithcare team. It’s an initiative I support and I’ve been privileged to see first-hand the difference that it makes to people’s lives when I travelled to Cambodia and Vietnam.

What’s in Soup?

For the speakers at Soup it’s not only a chance to attract money to help fund a project, but an opportunity to speak about a cause they care about to a room of like-minded people.

Our cause may not have won the pot, but plenty of people came to ask more about Lendwithcare, and I think we may have solved a few of those ‘difficult to buy for’ Christmas present dilemmas by suggesting Lendwithcare gift vouchers.

Having by chance stumbled upon the Love Your Avenues team in action, painting street furniture in their local area, I was glad to see them win a small fund that will make a big difference in helping them spread the word to bring a sense of pride to their local community.

For the Soup audience, it’s a relatively cheap night out, with food, entertainment, a chance to learn something and the warm satisfaction of contributing to some positive local action. There are local versions all over the UK, so give it a try.

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Walk in Her Shoes Challenge 2017

Walk in Her Shoes Challenge 8-14 May 2017

It was International Women’s Day on Wednesday this week. I marked it by signing up for the Walk in Her Shoes challenge. Let me explain…

Every day, in countries all over the developing world, women and girls have to walk long distances to fetch water for drinking, cooking and cleaning. This water is often dirty and infected and because they have to spend time collecting it, these children and women miss out on the chance to go to school or to work.

CARE International provide safe clean water to communities in the developing world and by taking part in the Walk in Her Shoes challenge, I’ll be raising money to help them.

Walk in Her Shoes daily challenge

Every day for a week, from 8-14 May, I’ll be walking 10,000 steps to represent the distance that women and girls have to travel each day just to fetch water for their families. That’s approximately 7km or about 5 miles and an hour’s worth of walking every day.

Unlike the women and girls I’m representing, I haven’t missed out on opportunities to go to school, get an education and a job because of the time spent collecting water every day.

Why I’m doing it

Education is very important to me. I mainly enjoyed school, where I loved learning and I still do. Having access to free eduction opened up a world of opportunities for me to develop a career, work for world-class organisations and now to set up my own business.

Women were a big part of that education. My Mum, my Nana and Grandma actively encouraged and supported me to make the very most of every opportunity that education offered.

I also had some inspirational and memorable teachers. Miss Gaffiney taught me chemistry with an old-school strict discipline, and an depth of knowledge that made science relevant to a girl who liked nothing better than to lose herself in fiction.

Miss Gaffiney also supervised one of my earliest trips abroad and fuelled a lifelong love of travelling, and learning more about the world.

How you can help

I’m asking you to sponsor me so that I can help CARE International provide clean water to communities in the developing world and give women and girls the chance of a better future.

Because it’s not really me you’re supporting, it’s those women and girls. By providing safe, clean drinking water, you help improve health and sanitation, and offer a real chance of a better future through the opportunity of education and work.

So if you can spare a few pennies or pounds, please drop it into my virtual online bucket: www.justgiving.com/walkforcare2017.

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Taking a walk in her shoes

You never really know a man until you understand things from his point of view, until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”

This quote from Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird is one of many variations on the theme of walking in another’s shoes, to gain an understanding, an empathy with our fellow beings on this planet.

Image of a young girl carrying water on her backEvery day, in countries all over the developing world, women and girls have to walk long distances to fetch water for drinking, cooking and cleaning. This water is often dirty and infected and because they have to spend time collecting it, these children and women miss out on the chance to go to school or to work.

That’s why I’m supporting CARE International to provide safe clean water to communities in the developing world by taking part in the Walk in Her Shoes challenge.

Every day for a week, from 5 to 12 March, I’ll be walking 10,000 steps to represent the distance that women and girls have to travel each day just to fetch water for their families.

I’m asking you to sponsor me so that I can help CARE International provide clean water to communities in the developing world and give women and girls the chance of a better future.

To give you an idea, 10,000 steps is approximately 7km or just over 4 miles. That’s well over an hour’s worth of walking every day.

You may think that I’m pretty active, and I do try to be, but on a typical working day I manage around half that number of steps. On some days it’s far less. So I’ll have to plan to work in those extra steps, before work, on my lunch break and into the evening.

So I’ll be offering to do the tea run, willingly going on errands, taking the stairs and going the long way round. Would anyone like to lend me their dog?

Of the world's 774 million illiterate adults, two thirds (493 million) are women.

Unlike the women and girls I’m representing, I won’t have missed out on opportunities to go to school, get an education and a job because of the time spent collecting water every day.

In supporting me, it’s those women and girls you’ll really be helping. By providing something as simple as access to safe, clean drinking water, you can help not only improve health and sanitation, but offer real change for the future through the opportunity of education and work. Helping people help themselves.

So if you can spare a few quid, please drop it into my virtual online bucket: www.justgiving.com/Michelle-walk2016 You’ll be helping relieve another woman of the burden of carrying water for her family.

If you’re in or near London you can join the International Women’s Day Walk on 6 March. Enjoy rousing music and hear from passionate 21st century suffragettes, then march in solidarity with the world’s poorest women and girls.

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