SoupFest is a festival of soup celebrating Bedfordshire’s talented chefs & raising money for the homeless at the same time. Local businesses and volunteers pull together in order to set up and run the one day event, selling homemade soup and bread to the public to raise funds for the homeless.
Local homeless organisations are invited to send representatives on the day. They are able to raise awareness about the services they provide, and listen to any concerns or queries the public might have about the rough sleepers in Bedford. They can also share information about how the public might be able to help alleviate some of the issues surrounding the homelessness issue in Bedford.
Local choirs and musicians perform throughout the day, entertaining the SoupFesters and encouraging them to stop a while and talk to each other, making new friends and reacquainting themselves with old ones.
SoupFest was established by local businesswoman Emma Garrett in 2017 after she was inspired to do so by a similar event in Jersey, Channel Islands, set up by Michelle Cuthbert some 19 years ago. All monies raised are distributed to support the local homeless population, via the various homeless organisations – grants of up to £250 can be applied for.
Michelle works closely with John Hodge of Shelter and now, each year approximately £12,000 is made to help the homeless locally.