Two Chester bartenders are hoping to raise thousands of pounds in aid of Syrian children escaping the bloody civil war engulfing their country.
Calum Adams, 26, and Ben Iles, 34, owner of the Marlborough Arms in Chester, agreed to help millions of refugees feeling the war-torn country last year after watching news coverage of the devastating conflict.
The pair who run the ‘The Bartenders Against Bombs’ campaign raised £7,000 for Syria Aid, a foundation delivering humanitarian aid to refugees in need, by asking bar teams across the city donate hard earned tips for a month.
However, following the recent devastation in Aleppo following Russian air strikes, Calum and Ben are hoping to raise a further £10,000 this year for War Child - the UK’s specialist charity for children affected by conflict.
The pair plan to expand the campaign beyond Chester this year and are calling on bars and restaurants across the country to help raise as much money as possible for the charity.
Calum, a bar manager for Barlounge and Hickory’s in Chester, told The Chronicle: “I’ve been in the hospitality trade for more than 10 years so I thought it would be good to do something extra.
“Last year we watched news coverage of the conflict in Syria and how it destroyed families and the lives of millions of people.
“The conflict in this country is only getting worse.
“Our focus is on Syrian children who have been ravaged by war over for over the last five years and as the fighting gets worse, there have been more and more children displaced by the war.
“We make quite a bit of money from tips in the hospitality trade so Ben and I put our heads together last year and came up with the novel idea of raising a little money to help Syrian refugees in any way we could.
“We asked the bar teams of Chester to unite and help us by donating their tips for a month and with their help we raised over £7,000 which went straight to SyrianAid.
“It went so well it seemed stupid not to continue it on this year.
“Following the recent surge in attacks in Syria, this has driven even more people to be displaced so I thought now is a good time to raise some more money.”
The Bartenders Against Bombs have asked bars and restaurants around Chester to leave a jar on their bar again this year to collect funds for the charity which supported more than 125,000 children and their families around the world last year.
Hickory's, Bar Lounge, Upstairs At The Grill, the Marlborough Arms, Liquor and Co, The Cabinet Club, The Sandy Box and Fiesta Havana have all signed up for a jar so far, including other bars in Ormskirk, London, Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds.
A cocktail competition will also be held in November as part of the campaign.
The hashtag #jaronmybar is being used to help promote the cause online.
Calum added: “I think us who live in more developed countries have a right to help the less fortunate.
“I think there is a certain stereotype towards refugees in this country, especially towards children - there is not enough emphasis on their background in the media.
“This year we will be going bigger, working harder, and promoting the cause more than ever to try and raise as much money as possible.
“I saw the work War Child were doing - they have no political alignment, they are simply just there to help refugees - they help any displaced child in need.
“It’s all about doing as much as we can and if I can make at least one more person think about their situation, I know I’ve done my job.
“We have already had donations from bartenders in London, and support from restaurants as far as Iraq.
“Every child deserves the best chance in life possible.”
Katie Johnson, Head of Individual Giving at War Child UK says: “On behalf of everyone at War Child, I want to say thank you to Calum and Ben for coming up with such a brilliant idea.
“We absolutely rely on the dedication, motivation and generosity of people like them.
“To raise money like this is great and will make a huge difference to the world’s most vulnerable children who we work with.”
To donate, visit justgiving.com/fundraising/Bartendagainstbombs