Stone Soup in Springfield

Chatting over soup at Springfield
Neighbours Scheme first anniversary

You’ve probably heard the story.  A hungry stranger persuades a village to add a little to a ‘stone soup’ to make a nutritious meal for everyone.   But how do you persuade the villagers to add their ingredients, and how do you sustain that culture of sharing?

One year on Springfield Project Neighbour Scheme celebrates its anniversary with a meal.

I didn’t expect the number of people who came to the event, but then I guess I wasn’t aware of all the different groups that make up the Neighbours scheme and the wider Springfield project.  I brought some flapjacks – I knew the soup was well covered.   There was more of a party atmosphere than the usual relaxed, calm atmosphere of the weekly ‘Place of Welcome’ I’d come along to for the last couple of weeks.

The purpose of the ‘Place of Welcome’ is just to relax and chat over a free meal or a game of pool.  There’s activities and it acts as a ‘gateway’ to other services at the Springfield Project and more widely.

I was there because I’m interested in people’s stories.  I have, over the years, helped people tell their stories and helped them use their stories to do more; stories help attract attention and promote a cause.  Telling stories is an important life skill, and listening to stories is essential to developing empathy and understanding.

Stone soup reminds me of Nick Booth and his social media surgeries and ‘social capital soup’ – using social and digital media to ‘create civic good’.  In presentations he makes he illustrates ‘social capital’ as a bowl of soup in which we all place our ingredient.
Stories – the telling of stories and listening to them – is central to the work at Springfield Place of Welcome’ and Nick Booth’s social and digital media.  Recording and sharing stories is a central part of our People’s Heritage Co-operative.   Perhaps they are most important because stories help you appreciate you are not alone.

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