• #danSOUP May 2021

    7-9pm 13 May 2021

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    #danSOUP - the friendly dragons' den event for arts & mental health projects

    Every May and October, usually during Mental Health Awareness Weeks, we run #danSOUP events to raise money and give cash to people with great ideas for arts and mental health projects in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire. It's a very exciting evening online making great ideas happen! Participants get to:

    • watch pitches for 4 different ideas using arts/creative activities to enhance mental health
    • network and discuss
    • vote on which should be funded
    • find out what has happened with previous winning projects

    Everybody pays a fiver*. All the fivers go into the pot for funding the winning projects selected by the audience. The first prize is over £500. A second prize depends upon ticket sales - so buy one now and help make good things happen!


    Who is competing for cash on May 13th?

    • Activity Boxes creates activity boxes for young people which they will distribute through food banks.
    • Anxiety Reset offers a free course to young women to help them learn coping strategies and build resilience
    • Mindful Stitching helps people cope with mental ill health through the mindful practice of embroidery
    • Supertroupers offers an immersive theatrical experience club for adults with physical and learning disabilities

    Our expert panel and the audience have an opportunity to ask questions, network and discuss the ideas with other attendees and then you vote for the one you want to support.


    #danSOUP is an exciting opportunity to discover and support great people with interesting ideas for tackling mental health in our local communities. It is run twice a year and is supported by Derby-based company Lubrizol, the Institute of Mental Health at the University of Nottingham and several anonymous individual donors.

  • Deadline for applications is noon April 16th 2021

    Have you got an idea for using arts or creative activities to enhance mental health or tackle specific mental health issues in Derbyshire or Nottinghamshire? Anyone can apply to pitch as long as you are based in one of the counties. We particularly encourage individuals who haven't previously had funding or the experience of applying for funding. For the May 2021 event we are also encouraging ideas that help with the challenges of Covid 19. We can give you guidance on the sort of projects that have been successful but remember it is the audience that decides the eventual winner. Have a look at the previous winners below.


    Guidance for people applying to pitch

    Application Form


    If you are successful in your application your pitch must be 4 minutes long (we keep time very strictly) and without use of technology such as slides or films or props that have words on them. You can however use other props and decorate your zoom window however you like. After your pitch you will be asked questions by the panel and the audience also get an opportunity to ask questions. No doubt about it - it is nerve-wracking but great fun too. And remember even if you don't win, your project idea gets heard by the audience and surprising and wonderful things have happened for those that didn't win too!

  • 4 Projects Pitch

    • Lauren Kinnersley - Naturally Creative
    • Scott Clayton and Paul Dickens - Blue Tonic
    • Benjamin Felstead - The Island
    • Ben Sherwin - Painting Nottinghamshire

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    Lauren Kinnersley - Naturally Creative

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    Scott Clayton and Paul Dickens - Blue Tonic

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    Benjamin Felstead - The Island

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    Ben Sherwin - Painting Nottinghamshire

  • Previous winners

    We run SOUP events twice a year in May and October.

    From May 2020 we expanded from #nottsSOUP to #danSOUP to fund ideas from Derbyshire & Nottinghamshire.

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    Oct 2020

    The Island, helping young men to work with songwriters and illustrators to express their feelings.

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    Oct 2020

    Blue Tonic, a new charity who will provide restorative activities in blue settings.

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    May 2020

    Gaby Goodchild for The Happy Eating Project -

    An online guided course and creative activities to guide parent and their child ‘step by step’ towards body and food confidence.


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    May 2020

    Helen Woodford for an online art club to provide a safe space for people suffering from anxiety and a chance to make beautiful art.

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    October 19

    The Allotment Project and Rob Hann with his book written for children to read to grandparents in care homes.

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    May 19

    Two projects using circus skills for building confidence - one with homeless people and the other for people suffering from specific mental illnesses.

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    Oct 18

    Lets Talk About Loss for When Words Hurt, an exhibition of images of grief created by young people. Details and film

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    May 18

    A monthly craft club designed to build community & create a safe space.

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    Oct 17

    ‘Girls Empowered’ a programme to raise aspiration, build self-belief and develop resilience to help girls growing up in disadvantaged wards in Nottingham handle challenges.

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    May 17

    Craft workshops to be held in care homes for elderly people with dementia. Previous winners also include a quiet garden space for relatives of a stillborn child.

  • The #danSOUP panel

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    asking insightful questions are:

    Karen Clegg

    Lou Rudkin

    Theo Stickley

  • Karen Clegg is a professional Graphic Designer, artist and musician. She is currently the chair of Lubrizol's Charity and Community Committee which has proudly supported our #soup events for the last few years with a £250 donation.

    Lou Rudkin is Head of Communications for the Institute of Mental Health at the University of Nottingham. Her work varies from promoting the latest mental health research to creating new community projects and helping the general public to get involved in research.
    Dr Theo Stickley initially trained as a mental health nurse and a psychotherapeutic counsellor. He taught at the University of Nottingham for twenty years before retiring in 2019. His research focused on arts and mental health and he is a renowned speaker and writer on the subject. He also led on local projects including Arts on Prescription (with City Arts, 2004-14), East Midlands Arts & Health.

  • #danSOUP organisers

    Planning meeting pre-lockdown!

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    Emma, Jane & Jeanne

    We were not to know this would be our last meeting and those laptops would take centre-stage for organising the next #danSoups online.

    Emma Torrance is co-owner of THiNK, an organisation to nurture creativity, enterprise and do good through and with businesses. She's an independent business adviser and mentor with tons of experience working with freelancers, small businesses and social enterprises.

    Jane North runs online vintage fashion business, What Clarice Wore and found on Instagram @whatclaricewore. Jane is a former programme director In social care and is passionate about personalised support.

    Jeanne Booth is championing live-work cohousing in Notts & Derbyshire and former owner of two art galleries & director of THiNK Good Business.

  • SOUP supporters

    We are extremely grateful for the people who help make our SOUP events happen including the staff community committee at Derby-based company, Lubrizol, the Institute of Mental Health, the artist-founder of the Hard Heads and Hang Ups Fund, Kelly Ann Holmes, Elisia Denton who initiated the first Notts Soup and our expert guides and panel members, Lubrizol employee and artist-musician Karen Clegg and Dr. Theo Stickley, Associate Prof in Arts and Mental Health at University of Nottingham.

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