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Singing for Syrians

3 November 2015 - Christian Aid and the Hands Up Foundation are encouraging people around the UK to come together and sing to help support the people of Syria in their desperate time of need.

The conflict in Syria has created one of the world’s biggest humanitarian and refugee crisis since the Second World War. As the violence continues and winter descends, the needs of the millions of Syrians forced to flee their homes will only intensify.

Singing for Syrians is a new nationwide initiative encouraging individuals, churches and communities around the UK to host fundraising carol concerts to help those whose lives have been torn apart by the conflict.

Amounts raised will be used to help Christian Aid and the Hands Up Foundation meet the urgent and ongoing needs of those affected by the devastating conflict.

Working through partner organisations inside Syria, and in neighbouring Lebanon and Iraq, this support to date has included providing emergency food, water and sanitation programmes as well as education programmes, psychosocial support for women and children, and support for medical teams inside Syria.  During the bitter winter months families will receive much needed blankets, warm clothing, food stoves and fuel for cooking.

The initiative has been organised by artist, George Butler, Trustee of the Hands Up Foundation, and Victoria Prentis, MP for North Oxfordshire, and is championed by Basil Eastwood, former Ambassador to Syria.
Organisers of Singing for Syrians concerts around the UK will be invited to a special carol concert in St Margaret’s Church on the grounds of Westminster Abbey on 15th December. Tickets are available via Billetto with a suggested donation of £10. There will also be a private reception at Speaker’s House.

Victoria Prentis MP said: “Before I was elected, I found that carol concerts were a great way to raise money while having a good sing. It therefore seemed obvious to me that concerts would be a good way to raise money for the most desperate people who remain in Syria. I am particularly concerned about the elderly and those with poor health, who are too weak to contemplate leaving the country.

“Hands Up and Christian Aid are doing some great work on the ground in Syria and the surrounding countries. Singing for Syrians provides a brilliant opportunity to raise funds for these charities to help these people. Whether you pass around a bucket at planned carol concert, organise your own event from scratch, or come to the St Margaret’s concert on 15 December, I really hope people will get behind this initiative.”

A “How to” pack’ full of ideas on organising your own concert can be obtained from the Christian Aid website, long with further details of the agency’s work with victims of the conflict.
The pack and further information can also be obtained from  George Butler at singingforsyrians@gmail.com or by telephoning 07789 713 115.

The Hands Up Foundation is a registered UK charity (no. 1156491), set up in April 2014 by four individuals (Johnnie Barnett, George Butler, Louisa Barnett and Rose Lukas) to remind their friends in Syria that they had not been forgotten.

They pick local partner organisations inside Syria, identify projects with maximum impact for those Syrians in need and raise funds in the UK to carry out the work. One those projects, now in its third year of funding pays the salaries of a medical team at a hospital in Aleppo. With initiatives like the Syrian Supper Club, which encourages people to hold their own fundraisers at home, and MarmalAid, inspired by Syria’s oranges and selling marmalade for humanitarian aid, their approach is far from ordinary. It is positive and celebrates Syrian culture.

For more information about the work of the Hands Up Foundation, visit http://www.handsupfoundation.org/

For more information from Christian Aid please contact Andrew Hogg on 0207 523 2058 or call the 24-hour duty press phone 07850 242950

Notes to editors:

1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in around 40 countries at any one time. We act where there is great need, regardless of religion, helping people to live a full life, free from poverty. We provide urgent, practical and effective assistance in tackling the root causes of poverty as well as its effects.

2. Christian Aid’s core belief is that the world can and must be changed so that poverty is ended: this is what we stand for. Everything we do is about ending poverty and injustice: swiftly, effectively, sustainably. Our strategy document Partnership for Change explains how we set about this task.

3. Christian Aid is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of more than 130 churches and church-related organisations that work together in humanitarian assistance, advocacy and development. Further details at http://actalliance.org

4. Follow Christian Aid's newswire on Twitter: http://twitter.com/caid_newswire

5. For more information about the work of Christian Aid visit http://www.christianaid.org.uk


Singing for Syrians

3 November 2015 - Christian Aid and the Hands Up Foundation are encouraging people around the UK to come together and sing to help support the people of Syria in their desperate time of need.

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