Six community groups and individuals vowed to feed our communities through food and music during our Soup Dragon’s Den event last week.

The evening included pitches to provide festive hampers and gifts; a meal on Christmas day; offers of international cooking classes and community get togethers; and plans for SEN (Special Educational Needs)-friendly discos for young people.

The winning pitch that captured everyone’s hearts was by Connect Community Choir, based in St Annes. The choir, open to anyone of any age and musical ability, will receive their full bid amount of £850 from our Community Investment Fund to host Love is All Around in February. The big community event aims to bring people together, spreading love and joy at what can be a difficult time of year, especially if people are on their own, and for everyone who simply wants to enjoy a good singalong.

Phill Fairhurst, Musical Director of Connect Community Choir, said: “It was a wonderful surprise to win, and it's fantastic that Love Is All Around can now go ahead in February, and we can reach many more new people. We are all about connecting with the community. Through this event, we hope to spread the joy singing together can bring, increase confidence and help people make new friends.”

Fellow director Jayne Kelly added: ”We know how motivating and healing singing is and the happiness and wellbeing benefits it brings, and we love enabling people to express themselves creatively in a safe and supportive environment.

“We all enjoyed the evening immensely and loved meeting people from Progress Housing Group and the other community organisations, who gave incredible pitches too.”

The five other community initiatives who pitched during the event will also receive funding of up to £200. They are: 

  • Fylde Community Food Hub, which will deliver Christmas hampers and gifts to families in the Fylde area
  • Wesley’s Community Cafe and Larder in St Annes, which are looking to provide 130 extra Christmas lunches in the run up to the festive season.
  • Sanctuary Cookalongs, which encourage people from all ethnicities and walks of life to cook for each other, sharing food and friendship with each other and the community, helping them feel more empowered and less isolated
  • Christine Worthington, who hosts weekly discos in Leyland and the Chorley area for youngsters with special educational needs, their families and carers 
  • Find a Friend Christmas Dinner, which will provide Christmas lunch at The Highfield in Croston on Christmas Day for people who would otherwise spend the day alone.

Diane Nash, Customer Voice Manager, said: “One of the powerful things about our Soup Dragon’s Den event is that it gets people together to share a simple meal and exchange stories and experiences. That is what communities are built on, and we are thrilled to be able to help these groups and individuals continue that valuable support to communities where we have properties.

“We appreciate everyone taking the time to pitch and support their local groups. We want to thank our contractor Arjo for sponsoring the ingredients for the delicious soup and crumble, and St Mary’s Community Centre in Leyland, for continuing to help and support with the event.”

 

  • Connect Community Choir is open to everyone with no auditions. It is also dementia-friendly and inclusive and tries to meet the needs of all participants. The choir meets every Tuesday morning from 10am until 11.30am at OLSOTS Parish Centre, 63 St Albans Road, St Annes, FY8 1XD. Please just turn up or call Jayne Kelly on 07927 257464 for more information or visit connectcommunitygroups.com. 

 

  • We are now planning our next Soup Dragon’s Den event in May. Applications will open from April. Keep an eye out on our website for more details.

 

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