Colchestersoup is a simple idea based on a concept that has its origins in Detroit, USA. Karen Taylor tells us all about it

Colchester Soup Logo

3 pitchers, 2 soups, 1 winner

When we were asked to produce around 500 words it seemed a lot. So we decided to put 500 into a bit of perspective.

500 = half as many followers as we have on Twitter

500 = twice as many likes as we have on Facebook

500 = an eighth of the amount of money raised by Colchestersoup

500 = as many people as we hope to ultimately reach on soup nights

500 = the amount of money we’d like to ultimately raise on an average soup night

We started out with an idea, shamelessly copied from Detroit Soup. We watched it in action at Southend Soup.

On a soup night the local community comes together to donate a suggested £5 at the door. For this they receive soup, a roll and most importantly a vote.

Colchester Soup Bowls

In addition there are an amazing number of people who just want to hear or help something positive.

3 local people/groups talk about their idea that may help the community. They get 5 minutes to talk. There are no electronic aids to their talks, and then they get 5 minutes to answer questions.

That’s all the time they have to convince the audience that their idea deserves to win however much money has been taken as door donations.

As they collect and eat very good soup the votes are cast. Much discussion of the various groups goes on around the tables before people make their final decision. Each soup night provides three very different pitchers.

Following soup both the winners and their winnings are announced. As Colchestersoup has built up winnings have gone from a not insignificant £195.20 to £367 in July and £2000 from one councillor towards his own version of soup.

Colchester Soup Cycle

Pitchers and winners so far have been (winners in bold)

Papworth Trust – needed some money for PR to let people know they’re in the Colchester area

Friends of St Botolphs – needed money for a planter, but more importantly wanted volunteers to come forward

Go4 Enterprises – wanted money for a survey of a boat that they’re hoping to put on the Colne to provide training and pop-up cafes/entertainment


Essex Feminist Collective – needed money for ongoing activities including education in schools, more importantly wanted to raise awareness of what they do

Castlegate Day Care Centre- needed money to replace a ‘decrepit’ kiln

Essex Raynet – needed money towards a new aerial to be installed on Colchester Stadium


Colchester 3D Creative – needed money towards a London show for the students from the institute

Colchester Wildcats – needed a small amount for PR (they were prepared to share winnings) but more importantly wanted to let people know what Korfball is

Grief Recovery Method – needed money for workbooks before starting courses in September


AutismRolo – needed money towards refurb of a Ford Transit van to be used as educational facility

Erin Summers Norman – needed money towards editing and publishing of a social commentary book

Out4Good – needed money to help support and house troubled teenagers


Caroline Rhys-Lewis – pottery equipment – camera

Kidsbacks4thefuture – educational material

Colchester Soup

And then a local councillor said he wanted to run a soup to use his £2000 community grant so another 5 groups shared that money. Spent as directed by the community.

Want to pitch? Want to come along? Next event 20th November 2015 6.30 pm Samaritans Walsingham Road, CO2 7BN

Twitter @colchestersoup


Or call 07532 253540

Colchester Classics – Classical Music Picks for November

Our classical music columnist Liz Leatherdale, founder and owner of Colchester Classics, brings you her pick of November’s classical music event in and around Colchester

Handel’s Messiah

Messiah is one of the best-known and most frequently performed choral works in Western music and is a set work for the current GCSE Music course. It includes much well-known music such as the Hallelujah Chorus, when the audience traditionally stands. The story goes that when King George II first heard this chorus, he was so inspired that he stood up. When everyone saw him standing, they stood too and so the tradition began!

This wonderful work is often performed and can be heard in Witham and Chelmsford over the coming weeks.

Patrick McCarthy celebrates 20 seasons as conductor of the Witham Choral Society with a full scale performance of Messiah including some of Handel’s alternative solos. Patrick will also be the bass soloist with Gill Wilson (soprano) and Elaine Henson (mezzo) and the Colchester Bach Orchestra. November 7, 7.30pm, Witham Public Hall, Collingwood Road, Witham.

Tickets from £10 (0345 017 8717 or 01621 854621)

Harlow Chorus

This year Harlow Chorus, a highly successful amateur choir of some 100 members, celebrates 40 years of choral singing. Its opening anniversary season will be a Remembrance concert including Benjamin Britten’s Agnus Dei from his War Requiem, Bob Chilcott’s Requiem and a gift commission from Paul Ayres of Bless this house, made famous by Perry Como in the 40’s. Saturday, 7 November at 7pm. St John’s Church, Epping. Next month the choir also performs Handel’s Messiah. Saturday 12 December, 7pm, Chelmsford Cathedral.

Tickets from £15 (01277 362440)

Remembrance and Thanksgiving Concert

On Sunday 8 and Wednesday 11 November our nation will pause for thought at 11am to remember and honour those who have sacrificed themselves to secure and protect our freedom.

A Remembrance and Thanksgiving Concert will take place on November 7 with the main choral work being Duruflé’s Requiem. The mood of this work, as befits a Mass for the Dead, is largely reflective and solemn with moments of great beauty. Taking a plainsong chant as a starting point Durufle used Fauré’s Requiem as a model by including important solo parts for organ, mezzo-soprano and baritone. The up and coming mezzo on this occasion will be Joanna Arnold (I recall her being the soloist in the same work with the Colchester Bach Choir in her parents’ Mayoral year).  This time Joanna will be performing with the Lexden Choral Society accompanied by the Kingfisher Sinfonietta conducted by John Chillingworth. Other works in this concert include music by Parry and Holst. St Botolph’s Church, Colchester Saturday 7 November 2015, 7.30pm.

Tickets £12

Moot Hall Organ Recital

‘We will remember them’ is the title of the next Colchester Moot Hall organ recital by Honorary Borough organist, Ian Ray. Music associated with the annual observance of Remembrance Day will be performed including the stirring Dam Buster’s March by Eric Coates and Elgar’s Nimrod from his Enigma Variations. Tuesday November 10, at 1pm, Colchester Moot Hall.

Admission is free with retiring collection in aid of The Mayor’s Charities

Halstead & District Choral Society

In which pieces of music can Handel’s most famous Hallelujah Chorus be heard? Yes, in the most well-known and frequently performed oratorio, Messiah, but he also used it in another choral work – the Foundling Hospital Anthem. Handel conducted the first performance at a benefit concert in aid of the children’s Foundling Hospital (now known as the Great Ormond Street Hospital.)

Zadok the Priest, by far the most popular of the Handel’s four Coronation Anthems, was also used in another oratorio, Esther, and it has been performed at every British Coronation since its first performance for King George II. Both the Foundling Hospital Anthem and Zadok the Priest will be sung by the Halstead & District Choral Society on Saturday November 14 at 7.30pm in St Andrew’s Church, Halstead. Tickets: £10 in advance (01787 473002) or £12 on the door

Patrick McCarthy will conduct another Handel oratorio, Judas Maccabaeus, later in the month.  Soloists Gill Wilson and Elaine Henson will perform with the Ipswich Bach Choir and Ipswich Chamber Orchestra at 7.00pm on November 21, 2015 at Ipswich School.

Tickets: £5 – £12

If you have a forthcoming concert of classical music, you would like previewed, contact Liz Leatherdale on 0800 999 6994.

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Liz Leatherdale






Liz Leatherdale