Liverpool bars and restaurants unite for Yemen fundraising appeal

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This Christmas, Liverpool bars, restaurants and independent businesses are uniting to raise money to help those in desperate need in Yemen.

After years of war, eight million of Yemen’s estimated 28 million people are at risk of starvation, many of them children and pregnant women. The UN warns that it could become the world’s worst famine in 100 years. 

Together, Liverpool businesses have decided to hold a huge fundraiser on one of the retail and hospitality trade’s busiest days of the year, Saturday December 15. Traditionally a day and night for huge celebration in the city, this year it’s also a chance to share with those less fortunate. 

Organiser Andy Scott of Craft Taproom on Smithdown Road explains…

Tell us about the Yemen fundraiser? How did it start and what made you decide to get involved?

I’d read an article online about the horrific food shortages in Yemen, and the sheer scale of tragic deaths that could have been avoided, and just thought it was worth trying to do something. The UN reckons that 18 million people there will have lost their lives due to hunger, which is just a crazy number.  

I contacted Genna Rourke who runs the local charity Merseyaid and she pointed me in the direction of a group called SABA Relief who are on the ground over there directly providing food parcels and medical aid. Apparently for every £40 we raise, they can feed a family of seven for a month. I know even if we raise a £1000, it’s a drop in the ocean compared to whats happening, but if that means improving the lives of a hundred or so people then it has to be worth a go. 

I got in touch with some of the other bar and café owners on Smithdown Road and asked if they’d do a collection for it, which was met with a resounding yes – and so figured we might as well just ask as many businesses around the city as possible to see if we could really raise a good amount. 

Why December 15?

We picked Saturday December 15 as it is one of the last weekends before Christmas and town would be packed already. If people are spending money on gifts, we’re hoping they could chuck a quid in a collection bucket when they are having a much needed pint or a bite to eat afterwards. 

What’s the response been like? 

It’s been brilliant! Really heart-warming to see the number of business owners jumping at the chance to do their bit. Some places such as Handyman’s, Kelly’s, Outpost (formerly Maguire’s), The Bagelry, Lovelocks and my place Craft Taproom have got events on that day. Other places including Baltic Market and Delifonseca will have a collection bucket out. We’re also putting together a huge raffle which loads of people are donating towards too. and Mark Magill from Lovelocks has been really supportive too, helping to really spread the word. 
What will be happening for the event at your site? 

We’ve got a brilliant psych garage rock four piece called Jo Mary playing at Craft, along with some fantastic local support acts – Hannah and The Wick Effect, COW, Bill Nickson, Mold and Silver Linings. It’s a free entry show, so we’re just asking for a donation on the door really!

How about at other places? 

On Smithdown Road Kelly’s Dispensary has an amazing free show from The Coral guitarist Paul Duffy, and over in Handyman’s a band called The Floormen are putting on a huge all dayer too. There are DJs on at Lovelocks, bands playing at Outpost too. We’re hoping that there will be events popping up all over the city that day and night. 


How can we help and get involved?

For any customer-facing businesses reading this, please do just put a bucket on your counter or bar and collect what you can on that day! You might think “well we only raised £20” but if everyone did that we’d collect an absolute fortune towards the cause! For any other businesses that might want to get involved just give us a shout at yemen@smithdownfestival.com – we’re in need of all sorts of sponsorship towards this. As cliché as it sounds – very single penny counts. 

And for everyone else….please just give what you can spare! Liverpool is boss at coming together for a good cause, so let’s all try and do something brilliant this December. 

Where can we donate?

• The Bagelry

• Baltic Market

• Bean There Coffee Shop

• The Brookhouse Liverpool

• Chopsticks 

• Craft Minded

• Craft Taproom – Gig with Jo Mary plus support

• Crazy Pedro’s Liverpool

• The Deli Smithdown road

• Delifonseca

• The Dome, Grand Central Hall, Liverpool

• Flanagan’s Apple

• The Fly in the Loaf

• Handyman Pub – Gig with The Floormen: Christmas Special

• Kelly’s Smithdown – Gig with Paul Duffy of The Coral

• Liquidation Liverpool

• Lovelocks Coffee Shop

• Marmalade Skies

• Outpost Liverpool 

• Sound

• Tiny Rick’s Cafe

• Yates Queen Square

• Zebra Creations