Record payout at first Soup pitch contest at The Crucible in Sheffield

A record-breaking pot up was up for grabs at this week's Sheffield Soup business pitching contest, held for the first time at The Crucible.

Wednesday, 10th October 2018, 12:51 pm
Updated Thursday, 11th October 2018, 9:27 am
From left: Sheffield Soup director Jonny Douglas andfounder Pennie Raven, winner Clare Rishbeth of Cycling Without Age and runner up Gina Walters of Neighbourhood Voices. Nelly Naylor Photography.

Four finalists, from among the 16 initial applicants, presented their socially-minded projects to the 163 members of the audience who had paid a minimum donation of  £5 to attend the event and act as judges.  

The winner Clare Rishbeth of Cycling Without Age went home with the door takings, which on the night were £936.

This was boosted by further donations to take the winners pot to £1,006 and an anonymous donor then pledged an extra 50 per cent of this total as a prize for the runner-up, Gina Walters of the Neighbourhood Voices choir.

Founder Pennie Raven said the new location gave them a huge publicity boost and took the event to a whole new level. "I couldn't believe it when I saw the queue stretching out through the door - especially as we only had 73 people registered the day before," she said.

Winner Clare wants to buy a number of  three-wheel rickshaws to give care home residents a ride around nearby parks.

The aim is to provide a time of '˜social connection, contact with nature, the stimulation of being out and about, and an experience to talk about for the rest of the week'.  

Each bike costs £8,000 and the prize money plus the backing of people at the event  will help them secure further funding.

Neighbourhood Voices organiser Gina Walters will use the money to produce an EP record at a Sheffield recording studio of the choir's members and film and photograph the session.

She said: 'Documenting what these women have achieved with me over the past year will be such a huge step for us as a choir while giving members an exciting musical experience and something  they can be incredibly proud to share with friends and family.'

Set up in 2015, Sheffield Soup has now been held 14 times. It will  be staged in the Crucible four times a year, plus three social events. The entry fee includes a vote, free raffle and homemade soup.

The next event is on Thursday,  November 29. More details at  and applications to apply for funding are now open at