A HOMELESS charity is encouraging people to get together for a ‘Souper’ challenge.

Rawtenstall-based M3 Project wants people to embrace its Big Soup Social in the same way that cancer charity Macmillan encourages people to get together for its World’s Biggest Coffee Morning.

Charity development worker Lynn Haworth said: “Our Big Soup Social will be held from Feburary 3 to 11, incorporating both weekends, so people who work can also use this opportunity to get together.

“Soup socials do not have to be indoors, in fact I am planning to fill up some flasks with soup and go on a walk with friends and family. People often associate soup with the homeless, especially as in larger cities soup kitchens are set up.

“At this time of year, when it is cold and damp, it is also an excellent way of spending time with colleagues, friends or family and raising money and awareness of the work of M3 Project.”

M3 was set up in 2003 and works throughout East Lancashire, Burnley, Pendle, Ribble Valley, Hyndburn and Rossendale.

The charity provides supported lodgings for single 16-21-year-olds who for whatever reason find themselves homeless. It runs a successful teenage families’ project and a Listening Project which provides peer mentors to mediate with families.

Project manager Alan Dorrington said: “Lynn’s role was funded by a grant from Comic Relief and although we obtain grants to secure staffing costs, these do not pay for the extras that our young people need.

“That includes bus passes to ensure that the young person can get to college so they can continue their education, or clothing for college or a training course and many other extras not covered by their allowances.”

Accrington and Rossendale College and Burnley College are planning fundraisers for the charity as is Waterfoot’s Co-op store, which will be holding an event on February 9 in store from 11am to 2pm.

Lynn added: “I am looking forward to people sending me photographs of where and when they hold their social, and I am especially looking forward to seeing some of the more unusual locations.

“People don’t have to make their own soup – they can fake it and open a tin – but we have some excellent recipes that are available free by contacting the office. You can also hold your event outside of the week – but please let us know.

“All we ask is that everyone who participates has a good time, learns more about the work of the charity and donates money for their meal.

“If this is successful then it will become an annual event.”

For more information email lynnhaworth@rossendalem3.org or call 01706 216600.