Multi-faith communities in Cardiff are coming together this coming week to host two events which will tackle loneliness in their community.
The Day of the Soup events are being organised as part of The Great Winter Get Together, launching last week on Blue Monday – dubbed the most depressing day of the year.
Day of the Soup has been arranged by Fr Dean Atkins from St Mary’s Church in Butetown, and is involving multi-faith organisations from Grangetown, Splott and Butetown serving homemade soup based on recipes which relate to their heritage and family histories.
The Great Winter Get Together is organised by the Jo Cox Foundation which brings communities together to promote a kinder and more tolerant world.
The late MP Jo Cox was killed on 16 June, 2016, before holding a constituency surgery in Birstall, West Yorkshire.
Her attacker, Thomas Mair, was jailed for a whole life order at the Old Bailey for her murder. While attacking her, he was heard saying: "This is for Britain, Britain will always come first", as well as "keep Britain independent" and "Britain first", the court heard.
Jo Cox - Credit: Jo Cox Foundation (Twitter)
Butetown is noted as one of the UK’s first multicultural communities, with people from over 50 countries and cultures finding sanctuary there in the early 20th century.
Reverend Dean Atkins regularly works with local places of worship, schools and first, second and third generation migrant communities.
Day of the Soup reflects the local community, therefore all recipes must be vegetarian, meaning they are available to absolutely everyone despite cultural and religious differences.
"Day of the Soup is about tackling isolation and loneliness and giving people the opportunity to get together and socialize. It offers people a way of finding out about each other’s history and heritage in a welcoming space.
"Soup is a cheap and nutritious food so it speaks to the cost-of-living crisis and helps provide a warm safe space for anyone in need of company. It’s a simple and effective way of bringing community together to celebrate diversity.”
Each organisation, including the Cardiff Synagogue, Islamic centre and three primary schools, will create and supply their own soup which will have a story or significance behind the recipe. St Mary’s Church will be contributing Spicy Carrot and Lentil Soup which has been a favourite at previous events and so is a constant link between all the church events across the years.
Fr Dean added:
"We wanted to make a soup that didn't use many ingredients but tasted great to show what's possible from just a few inexpensive items. It’s a bit like community work - it only takes a few people to make a big difference!"
St Mary's Church, Butetown - Credit: St Mary's Church
Day of the Soup received funding to host the events from the Cardiff Council, which all participants can use for ingredients and equipment on the day.
The event was held at St Saviour's Church in Splott on Tuesday, January 17, and will now be running at two different locations this coming week: St Mary’s Church, Butetown on Tuesday, 24 January and at St Paul’s Church, Grangetown on Thursday 26 January.
Each event will run from 3pm to 4.30pm and include weather-dependent activities in and outside the churches, along with the opportunity to donate to local projects and causes.
Fr Dean is encouraged that this 'Great Winter Get Together' will inspire inter-faith and inter-denominational community and fun.
"The reason we are doing these events now is because of the seasonal isolation and loneliness and it ties into Blue Monday. So, it’s to bring that light and cheer and bring some hope and happiness to people - which is our calling.
"It’s our calling as Christians to contribute towards building up community life and building people’s lives."
Candlelit vigil for the murdered MP, Jo Cox in 2016 - Credit: Jane Campbell
In her first speech to Parliament, Jo Cox said: "We have more in common than that which divides us", leading events in her name, like the Day of Soup, to take place annually across the UK. They come with the aim of building bridges, tackling loneliness and 'showing the collective power we have as a community'.
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