SoupFest Bedford – providing help for the homeless.

On 5th December, SoupFest comes to Bedford and the Clanger is proud to be one of its many high-profile supporters. To find out more, we chatted to Soupfest-founder, Emma Garrett:

What inspired you to launch SoupFest in Bedford?

My parents are from Jersey in the Channel Islands and they are both involved in this initiative over there.  They volunteer every year to serve soup which has been made and donated by the amazing chefs from Jersey’s fantastic restaurants – Mark Jordan, Shaun Rankin and the like.  The event attracts people from across the island – businessmen and women can be seen in The Royal Square buying cupfuls of soup to take back to the office – lawyers, bankers, shoppers, tourists – you name it, it seems to appeal to everyone.  The event in Jersey now raises over £12,000 a year for the homeless and it struck me that it would be a fabulous way to raise money for Bedford’s homeless.  Sadly over the past few years it seems there have been more and more people in Bedford falling on troubled times and I hate to see them sleeping rough in shop doorways and begging for food.  Running SoupFest in Bedford is a way to raise some funds that can be distributed to the people that need them most.  The joy of the event is that everyone and anyone can be involved and even if people only have an hour to spare, that will make a difference.  People simply need to turn up on the day and pop £3 in the pot as a donation in exchange for soup, bread and some live musical entertainment.

You’re a very persuasive individual, Emma. Who have you managed to get involved?
Anyone and everyone!  One of the main reasons, other than the fundraising, that I wanted to pull this event together was that I saw first-hand how it had brought the community in Jersey together.  The volunteers that are rostered in each year to serve the soup are a crucial part of the event but that is not all – there are numerous ways that people can get involved and it is a great community showcase:

If you are a chef please get in touch and volunteer to make a vat of soup to serve up on Tuesday 5th  We have already had support pledged from Phil Fanning of Paris House, The Horse and Jockey in Ravensden, The Pavilion at the Park, Peach Pubs, Thali and Tandoor and catering giant Sodexo to name but a few.   A big menu board will be on display, thanks to our graphic design partners Mediafix, and all chefs will get a shout out on the day as a thank you for taking part as well as across our social media platforms in the lead up to the event.

If you sing in a choir, work in the music department at a school or are a conductor or part of a musical group, please get in touch at soupfestbeds@gmail.comif you can get involved.

How can businesses get involved?
We are still looking for local businesses to help with sponsorship.  Many are already onboard such as Charles Wells, Watton Recruitment, Sharman Solicitors, The Bedford Blues, The Harpur Trust, the Bedford Clanger and Advancing Property – but we will need as many chefs as we can muster to make soup, as many bakers as possible to donate bread, as well as businesses to cover the cost of take away soup pots, aprons for the volunteers, gas burners and marquees.

Can I volunteer?
We will be relying on all hands on deck on the day and have had offers from all sorts of businesses and individuals, however, this event won’t happen if we don’t have enough volunteers so even if you only have an hour to spare, we’d like to hear from you!  If you can help with PR, admin or logistics, get in touch too!


Which charities will benefit?
There are a number of charities in Bedford supporting homeless people including the Kings Arms Project, The YMCA, Emmaus and Max McMurdo’s Soupervan.  We will be distributing the funds raised across these charities.

soupfestbeds@gmail.com  @SoupFestBeds.  Watch the animation on www.facebook .com/soupfestbeds made by Rob at Made by DBM it is a great overview of what this fundraiser is all about.


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