Award winning actress and former River City Star Jayd Johnson is urging Glaswegians to get behind the city’s latest community crowd-funding initiative.
The 25-year-old actress from Rutherglen, who won a BAFTA for her portrayal of Paddy Meehan in the BBC drama Field of Blood, has given her support to Glasgow Soup: an event where individuals, community groups and small charities can pitch for funding for projects that benefit Glasgow’s East End.
Jayd said: “The concept of soup is so simple, you donate £5 or more on the door, enjoy a bowl of soup, listen to local people pitch ideas that help your community, have a chat and vote for your favourite idea. The presenter with the most votes takes home all the money collected at the door to get their project off the ground. The criteria for pitching is also pretty straightforward, you can pitch any idea so long as it benefits the East End and is small scale enough for a donation of around £500 to make a difference. It might not seem a lot of funding, but the concept isn’t just about money. It is about connecting and empowering people to make positive changes to their local neighbourhoods.”
The talented actress, who landed her first professional acting job aged just 11 in the film Dear Frankie alongside Hollywood actor Gerard Butler, wants to make a difference to communities on her doorstep having just returned to her hometown following a 4-month stint volunteering overseas.
Jayd said: “I’ve been acting since I was a kid and I just really needed a break from the business, so I took a year out. I’ve just come back from Nepal where I was a team leader managing 20 volunteers with the International Citizen Service, a volunteering programme run by the Government’s Department of International Development. Being a volunteer was a hugely rewarding experience. We worked alongside local people in rural communities on a variety of education projects. From setting up a dental camp for children who had never been to the dentist, to get them treatment and teach them about oral health, to career development classes where women learnt to weave baskets, bags and purses from waste plastic so they could then sell these at markets creating a household income. It was hard work but it felt great to be making a difference to the lives of other young people.”
Jayd’s latest charity calling is much closer to home. The first Glasgow Soup event will take place at the Calton Heritage & Learning Centre on Thursday 17 November from 6-9pm.
Jayd said: “The event is inspired by a unique model that originated in Detroit, which has seen some great projects get off the ground from a coat that turns into a sleeping bag to a theatre company that puts on free performances of Shakespeare. Glasgow Soup promises to be equally amazing.”
Glasgow Soup is being organised by the Social Care Ideas Factory, a charity that already runs a range of projects designed to help people to live braver, fuller lives from their Paragolf Scotland project, which supports sports inclusion, to their Wee Enterprizers initiative, which creates innovative employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
Founder and Curator of the Social Care Ideas Factory (SCIF), Charlie B-Gavigan said: “We’ve all heard the phrase ‘people make Glasgow’, well now the soup revolution has hit our city they really can! Just come along to Glasgow Soup and help turn ideas that make Glasgow a better place to live into a reality. The event is open to anyone: whether you need help for an idea that could benefit the East End of Glasgow or whether you just want to support local community-based projects. For just £5, you can enjoy a bite to eat, have a good blether, vote for your favourite idea and go home happy knowing you have made a real difference to your local area.”
Soup for the first event will be donated by the Spoon Café, a social enterprise café and catering service run by Unity Enterprise to support adults with learning difficulties in a supported working environment.
Jayd hopes they’ll be cooking up her favourite on the 17th: “Home cooking was one of the things I missed in Nepal, but one of my favourite dishes was Dal Baht which is basically lentils and rice. I think I loved it so much as it reminded me of my Granny’s lentil soup, it’s the best.”
Free tickets for the first Glasgow Soup Event can be reserved in advance via Eventbrite. On the night, please bring along a donation of £5 or more to secure your soup and your vote.
See Jayd on STV’s Live at Five.