Detroit Soup is a concept for crowd-funding dinners that has raised more than $100,000 (£63,900) for community projects in the Motor City. It has rapidly spread around the UK.

More than 100 people turned up to the first Sheffield Soup in July. “I had no idea that it would be this successful,” says founder Pennie Raven.

It’s a simple concept, explains Raven. You pay a small entry fee in return for a bowl of soup – and the chance to hear local people pitch ideas to help your community.

After questions are taken and liquid meals are served, everyone votes for the project they liked best. The winner gets to keep the money paid at the door.

At her first event, the ages of those who paid £5 to get in ranged from 15 to over 65. The ideas pitched were as diverse as the audience – from a 3D printing project to a sports club helping people with disabilities.

There are now Soup projects stretching from Brighton to Glasgow. All want to replicate the success of Detroit Soup in the US which has raised more than $100,000 (£63,900) for community projects in five years. Soup events are not just about the money. “It’s a little bit of funding, it’s a lot more empowering and it’s even more about connectivity,

Getting people trading ideas and talking is the sign of a successful Soup event. This is why it’s so important to get a network of people engaged with the project well before setting it up, explains Pennie Raven. The reality is, forget what you know about business and setting something up, because the rules don’t apply to Soup. “Just do it and everything you need will come to you.”

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