Social Enterprise Evening
Another cosy evening at the Hive saw out the last day of winter at Roehampton. The Hive did what The Hive do best in the form of ‘Social Enterprise Evening’, providing a comfortable mix of drinks, food and inspirational talks from the leaders of local businesses partnered with Roehampton based charity Regenerate.
An eclectic mix of beer, mojitos and sweet potato fries covered the menu for the night as people from in and around the campus came together for a collaborative evening. Speeches came from various corners of London, including Solomon Smith, founder of the Brixton Soup Kitchen and Joel Williams from Roehampton’s own Growhampton.
As 6pm came and the sun took its leave, people started to trickle into the Hive cafe. Many cradling cups of tea, yet many more clutching ice cold mojitos and bottles of beer. The evening was relaxed from the beginning, as people met and got settled, pulling stools and chairs across the floor to surround the designated ‘speaker’s corner’. Roehampton based charity “Regenerate” opened the evening, introducing the speakers and the layout for the evening.
The Brixton Soup Kitchen team were quickly introduced as “having to run to a speech in Shoreditch after this” and brought up to the front of the room. Founder Solomon Smith instantly set the tone for the evening, opening on his wishes to ‘give back to the community’ and information about his charity. At well over 6ft tall, Solomon took charge of the room, with a warm personality and friendly face his audience paid him undivided attention from the beginning. He became instantly relatable to the students in the room as he spoke about his past and how his school work placement initially sparked his interest in helping the homeless community. Making jokes about his success despite his lack of GCSE’s, muffled chuckles filled the room regularly, providing a welcome break from the quizzical brows covering the faces of the audience for the majority of the evening.
Solomon described his difficulties in starting the soup kitchen, explaining his complete lack of government funding since the opening in 2013, as well as the pros and cons of social media. Despite having to run off to a speech on the other side of London, Solomon cut no corners. He spoke with a passion for an hour about raising awareness for the homeless, as everyone else unconsciously nodded their heads in agreement.
As the Brixton Soup Kitchen team rushed out the door, people topped up their drinks and resettled for the second half of the evening. Celia Briseid, coordinator for Growhampton jumped up from her chair giving a brief introduction of the rest of her team. The main speech from the Growhampton team came from Joel Williams, who has been a part of Growhampton since it was founded in 2013. He perched his beer bottle on the side, and he spoke with a calm passion for almost everything “green”. His gentle voice paired with the buzz of the refrigerator silenced the audience completely as he was talking.
Joel explained the role of Growhampton on campus, how it encourages volunteering from the students and promotes organic and locally sourced food. He also spoke about the various sessions held by Growhampton, including Learn to Grow and Harvest mornings, as well as the importance of collaboration within society with an aim of a mutual advantage. Aimee and Amelia from The Hive then spoke briefly about the Hive’s collaboration with The Feel Good Bakery, who provide work for young people on the Roehampton estates as well as donating food to hungry children in Nairobi.
Celia and Joel then treated us to a spontaneous rendition of their song “Kale for Breakfast”, before ending with various exciting announcements. This included an update on the much anticipated Hive Cookbook, which could potentially be released over the next few months! The Growhampton team also expressed their ambition to start cooking classes for students under the social enterprise scheme.
A quirky addition to the evening came from Mauro Issufo, who set up a station to sell his “Wellbeing Bracelets”, made with half the proceeds going to charity. He will hopefully be coordinating with more Growhampton events such as Market day Extravaganzas. People left looking truly content. Heads full of ideas, bellies full of chocolate brownies.