Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic there have been many uplifting stories of individuals striving to help others. DJs Against Hunger is the brainchild of Liverpool DJ Josh Davies as a campaign raise money for FareShare, a charity that is fighting hunger and #foodwaste by saving good quality in-date surplus food and redistributing it to charities across the UK. Josh is also using his platform to try and raise awareness for the plight facing the hospitality and nightlife sector.
The concept of DJs Against Hunger is an interesting one. It is based around a social media challenge whereby Josh records and posts a DJ set to SoundCloud, donates £10 and then nominates another 3 DJs who do the same. Josh emphasises that the campaign is open to DJs of any ability and from any genre. Hopefully, the social media pages will also help to give a boost to new DJs with limited exposure.
I caught up with Josh to understand more about his motivations and hopes for this campaign
Who or what inspired you to do this?
I’ve always believed it’s important to try and help charitable causes if you are able to do so. Having noticed a huge increase in the number of people living in poverty in the UK in recent years and, worryingly, the amount of families becoming reliant on food banks, I felt it was necessary to try and help a charity like FareShare if I could. Also, despite being a massive Liverpool fan, seeing and hearing all about the good work Marcus Rashford has been doing this year to tackle food poverty was definitely inspiring. It shouldn’t take a high profile footballer to force the government’s hand into offering free school meals to children, especially in a year like 2020 when job losses are on the rise due to Coronavirus.
Is this your first charity project?
No, I feel I should always try and do my bit when I can. I’ve done little bits over the years but earlier this year during the peak of the first lockdown a few friends and I organised a charity DJ stream. Including myself, there were 6 of us DJing between midday and midnight each doing individual sets from our homes, I think between us we raised nearly £1,700 for the local NHS charity. This was around the peak of the first wave so we hoped to raise some money to provide PPE for staff.
Do you have a fundraising target you are hoping to reach for FareShare to help tackle poverty and hunger?
I’ve set the initial target at £1,000 which is pretty much half way there already, which is great. Hopefully, over the course of a few months more people get involved and the target figure is reached then I can set an even higher target. In the current climate though any amount will be beneficial to the charity.
You mention hospitality, which is also a personal passion of mine. How are your expecting this project to give a voice to hospitality and creative sectors at this time?
So the idea is to not only raise money to help try and tackle food poverty in the UK, but to also help out the hospitality industry. Each time a DJ records a mix for the project, I’ve asked that they mention a few words about their favourite local venue. Each time I post a mix I include a quote about the chosen venue and tag them.
I’m hoping over a period of time, with enough people on board, I have a network of creative people supporting a wide variety of venues in the hospitality industry. I can then use this support to prove just how important the industry is to the UK. Emailing certain MPs, local councils etc I hope to prove to those in power they are wrong to believe certain aspects/jobs in the industry are not ‘viable’ to quote Rishi Sunak. Also, hopefully, when places reopen properly someone may visit somewhere on the back of a recommendation on the @djsagainsthunger Instagram page.
What are you hoping for as an outcome to help hospitality?
In an ideal world, I would love for @djsagainsthunger to gain nationwide recognition so I could not only raise a huge amount of money but also get real attention for the likes of hospitality, nightlife and DJs. I’m not Marcus Rashford though, so I have to be realistic. The hospitality industry is worth a vast sum of money to the UK economy, not to mention the amount of jobs it creates for people.
I wouldn’t know half of my friends if it wasn’t for DJing or attending some of my favourite local venues over the years. I bet that the same applies for a lot of people around the UK so it’s an issue close to my heart.
Are there are DJs you personally hope might get on-board with this project?
My plan was to keep things local for now and gradually broaden the horizons through nominating DJs outside of Liverpool. It’s pretty ‘grassroots’ at the minute but I thought it would be best to start small. Fingers crossed, over time, high profile DJs would like to get involved. Myself and a few friends know some DJs with big platforms so I will approach them soon. My favourite UK based DJs are Moxie, Shanti Celeste, Peach and Saoirse, I can only dream they’d like to help out at some point!
How can readers of The Indiependent help out?
The initial idea was to be nominated before sending in a mix, mainly because it’s a lot easier to keep on top of as it’s only me running the page currently. But if any readers feel like getting involved check out @djsagainsthunger for full info and record a mix, donate and nominate! It would be good to start the ball rolling in other cities and towns now.
Even if you don’t DJ but like the idea any donation is welcome or if anyone feels they could push the idea to a wider audience in some way feel free to get in touch.
How will you judge if your campaign has been successful?
I think any amount raised would be successful, given the nature of the charity, but reaching my initial target would be a good place to start. I believe, in time, I can smash the target out of the water and get people from across the UK involved. I’m planning to run with this idea for a while. A few friends have offered to help run the page going forward so hopefully things go from strength to strength.
Post COVID-19, what are your hopes for the hospitality industry and, specifically, the part you work in?
I just hope that as many places as possible can bounce back and keep their heads above water. Some venues in Liverpool have already closed and this will be the same all over the UK. Life will probably be a little different for a while but to get things to get close to pre-covid levels is the aim for everyone in hospitality I imagine.
From a selfish point of view, I really hope the venues I’m used to DJing at can go back to ‘normal’ as soon as possible. They’re a huge part of my life not only from a working perspective but a social aspect.
What are your personal ambitions post COVID-19?
From a personal point of view, I would love to be back DJing four or five times a week like I’m used to. I will take anything I can get for a while though I miss it badly! I certainly won’t take my 8 hour slots and 4am finishes for granted again.
At the time of writing, £455 had been raised of the initial £1,000 target. The fundraising page is here.
Words by Andrew Butcher
Check out Andrew’s blog here.
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