The dichotomy of the society in which we live is that the pace and need for constant change can sometimes be at odds with the evolution of communities in the context of social values and responsibilities. The challenge we all have is to ensure these forces are working together. So how do you ensure that balance is in check, and what has soup got to do with anything?

Optalis operate within the health and social care sector, delivering services to thousands of people across Berkshire and Oxfordshire. Our role is to make sure that those who we support, and those who provide that support, have the best experiences, whilst achieving their full potential. However, at Optalis, it is not only about our customers and our colleagues, but it is also about the communities we serve and what we can do to create an environment, which supports an inclusive and connected community. As an organisation we have a proud history of demonstrating this. Our Learning Disabilities customers ‘hug in a mug’ project reaches out to those who may be experiencing loneliness, by providing a stepping stone to link with the wider community and our Ally Rangers team of customers, who provide gardening services and maintain parks, graveyards and National Trust parkland.

So, with a community focused ethos, we are always thinking of new, innovative ways to create an inclusive environment, which in doing so, has led us to acquire a taste for soup.

The ‘Soup Project’ concept was born in Detroit many years ago and combines simplicity and purpose, by providing the opportunity for those who want to fulfil the potential of their community and make it a better place to live. In exchange for a small entry fee, soup, bread and a drink are provided, as well as the chance to hear local people and local organisations “pitch” ideas around improving their local community. The audience listens and then decides on a winner, who takes home the money raised at the door (which is matched by Optalis) and then implements the plan. It is a wonderfully rewarding evening, which has a positive impact and enables new people to meet each other and discuss ideas. The evening also provides the perfect forum to bring communities together, to recognise that when the pace and speed of change is all around us, soup can give us the chance to contribute to the things that really matter.

The Wokingham Soup event will take place on 18th July. Please visit to find out more and register.