February 22, 2009 at 9:24 pm (Features) (, , , )

In a time of economic turmoil, charities are beginning to suffer as more and more people are losing their jobs and disposable income is scarce, the phrase “charity starts at home” has never rung more true.


Shops in Cardiff are struggling as people are donating their clothes less and less, yet more people are buying the clothing they sell. Shelves are already starting to become empty and it will not be long before stock dries up completely.


But charities are still in great need of donations, so there has to be a new appeal to convince people to part with their finances.


Cardiff University student, Luke Todd, 23, of Linden Avenue, Roath, is tackling this problem by organising the music festival, Oxjam 2009.


The idea is new bands will play in Cardiff venues and all the proceeds made will be donated to the Oxfam Charity.


The first event is a jazz event, called the Jazz Sessions, which starts on February 28 at Tommy’s Bar, Howard Gardens, Cardiff. This is a new part to the festival and hopes to promote and nurture the talents of young people.

On Saturday 28 February, the festival will feature the Lil Big Band, a 22 piece big band, who plays a mixture of classic swing, funk and Latin numbers.



The second strand of the festival is being put together by Mr Todd, who aims to set it up for the end of March or April.


Mr Todd is the leader of the Cardiff Oxfam Group, and got involved with the cause when Oxjam was first launched in 2006.


He said: “I had gone to an Oxfam Live conference at St David’s Hall and found out that Oxjam was to be their latest campaign. I then joined the Cardiff Oxfam Group because I wanted to become more involved.”


Mr Todd says he has organised a number of Oxjam gigs each year since the launch and really enjoys being part of the cause.


Oxjam festivals take place all over the country, but the events in Cardiff have been one of the biggest successes.


So far, the events all over the country have raised £373, 212 and after the festivals in Cardiff the figure should increase by a significant amount.


Events can stretch room festivals such as Cardiff’s to a small party, or even busking in the street.


Mr Todd says he hopes that the music event will encourage music lovers in the city to go and will encourage people to donate their money to charity as they will get something out of the event.


He said: “People often want to give money to charity but they are not sure how, or it is easy for the idea to slip out of people’s minds. If there are events like this, people can not only turn up and have fun, but they can also help a very worthwhile cause.”


Mr Todd says he hopes the event will be the biggest one in Cardiff yet.


There are other parts to the festival apart for the music, including a raffle with prizes such as £20 vouchers to spend at high street shops, and a signed copy of the Kate Rusby songbook. Awareness is also being raised through a photo caption competition online with a prize of a free meal at Nandos restaurant.


The jazz night will also show a 20 minute video, Sisters on the Planet, made by Oxfam to show why the cause needs help and where the donations will go.


Mr Todd says he hopes the events that are being organised in March will be able to be held in a bigger venue so they can get wider audience in to make even more money to give to Oxfam.


Oxfam’s biggest focus now is those affected by the Gaza conflict and those in Zimbabwe who are suffering from the cholera outbreak.


The Gaza appeal is the newest appeal for the charity, and shops are desperately trying to raise the money to help civilians who have been caught up in the conflict.


The money raised by the Oxjam festivals will go to help the charity provide services and care for people all over the world and help to fight poverty across the world.


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