For the community, by the community

Photo by Severn Tides Mike Erskine pitching at Sing For Your Supper.

Mike Erskine, a Cardiff resident and community activist, talks about his experience of pitching his project at Cardiff’s very first Sing For Your Supper, a community micro funding dinner, and explains the importance of reaching out and connecting with others to make your ideas become a reality.

Sing For Your Supper is a community micro funding dinner based on Detroit SOUP. The SOUP movement started in Detroit in 2010 with the aim of supporting people with ideas to improve their community.

Sing For Your Supper seeks to empower and strengthen communities in Cardiff by building networks, engaging local people in community action and providing an opportunity for people to access small pots of crowd sourced funding

The idea is simple; attendees pay for a bowl of soup, bread, dessert and a vote. Four people have five minutes each to pitch a project, audience members vote for the project they think will benefit the community the most. The winner receives all money raised to carry out their project. Entertainment is provided by a local artist and previous Supper winners are invited to give a brief update on how their projects are going.

Mike tells us about his experience of pitching his project at Cardiff’s very fist Sing For Your Supper:

“My idea is to create a community website to find or promote events that bring Cardiff together. I want to create a website run for the community by the community. A space where the community can organise, collaborate and share. A website that has a social mission and is not about profit but people, the arts, education, community, and sustainability. I want to help the community events that are making Cardiff a better place to live.

I decided to pitch my idea at Sing For Your Supper because, very simply, I needed feedback from the community. I didn’t know if my idea was good or was even needed so I had to put it out into the world and Sing For Your Supper was an ideal starting point. I also felt I needed the pressure and having a deadline to work towards meant I was forced to get things moving and think about the idea more.

The experience of pitching my idea to the audience was great. I’m not the sort of person who likes to get up and speak but the environment was relaxed and friendly, so it didn’t feel like a pressured situation.

Even though I was not voted as winner, and therefore did not win any funding, there were certainly benefits to taking part. First, before even taking part in the event, working on the pitch helped me go over and clarify my ideas, so just going through that process helps. Above that the evening itself helped me to connect with people who were interested in my idea and wanted to support it with their own time. Knowing that others are willing to invest their time into an idea makes you realise you’re heading in the right direction and that gave me confidence to move forwards.

For me, reaching out and connecting to others is what Sing For Your Supper is all about. It isn’t easy for everyone to do, but to make ideas happen you need to reach out, tell the world your thoughts and believe good things will happen.

My advice to anyone who’d like to pitch their project idea is that money is a secondary thought. Think about how your audience can help you, and make sure you actually ask them to help you on the evening”.

Get involved in Cardiff Community Events

Visit the Cardiff Community Events page and fill in the contact form. We are looking for anyone that has a bit of time to volunteer to help make Cardiff a better place.

Get involved with Sing For Your Supper (now called Cardiff SOUP)

If you’d like to pitch a project idea that you think would benefit the people of Cardiff or a community within, send an email

Like the Facebook page to find out more about future dinners, news about community projects in Cardiff and ways to get involved.