The latest from Hands Up with stories on the people we're supporting and how we're doing it, scroll down for more.
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We are very excited to send you Hands Up's first official newsletter - it has been a long time coming! There are so many brilliant things happening and much of this is down to you, so the least we can do is let you know what is going on and how you can get involved. These updates will wing their way to you every few months. 

To jog any crowded minds, Hands Up is the charity behind the Syrian Supper Club, Singing for Syrians and MarmalAid. We want to remind our friends in Syria that they have not been forgotten. To do this, we raise money and awareness through sustainable and creative fundraising for vulnerable people suffering as a result of the crisis. Where possible, we fund programmes which give Syrians a choice to stay and make a living in Syria.

Syria has been splashed across our newspapers and TV screens recently and is once again the top news story. It is easy to feel helpless in the face of an increasingly brutal, long-standing conflict, but we must remember that we all have the power to do something. So many of you have proved this by coming along to a Syrian Supper, holding your own, buying a ticket for Singing for Syrians or shaking a bucket around the office - and that knowledge is a powerful and positive thing. 

Read more below on George's recent trip to the Turkish/Syrian border where he met some of the doctors we've been funding in Aleppo, Singing for Syrians and what you have been doing to wave the fundraising flag yourselves.

Over and out

Rose, George, Johnnie and Louisa

Tales from the Turkish/Syrian border - George Butler
George made a trip to the Turkish, Syrian border towards the end of October to meet current partners and potential new ones. This is what he had to say...

From the outset of this war Hands Up decided that supporting Syrian organisations working in and around Syria for Syrians was the most efficient use of funds. The need for these funds inside Syria is greater now than it has ever been. It is nerve wracking going back to this part of the world (the Turkish/Syrian border) not because you feel in any great danger but because there's a chance that you might just find a problem so large that it becomes overwhelming. Fortunately and as always, the Syrians, even away from their homes, are wonderful hosts and I was hugely reassured by the efficiency of many small Syrian organisations, registered in Turkey but working across the border.

I met with Dr. Hussein, who we supported with a salary in Aleppo until July this year. We have funded the salaries of seven medical staff in Aleppo for three years and we hope to start supporting them again in January 2017. Hussein talked about the situation in Aleppo, a place that no one can get to now as it remains under siege, he described his nephew of 15 who had been shot and killed by the regime and talked about his new born baby and young daughter who now live in Turkey. Despite having his daughters safe and well in Turkey, Hussein, like many Syrians is desperate to go back to help. He is just another example of the real, unwilling heroes of this war.

I visited the National Syrian Project for Prosthetic Limbs which we have also supported for three years, again a warm and kind place to be. Each plaster cast lying around the room has its own story. One for a 38 year old man caught in a rocket attack, one for a 5 year old girl, given the wrong medicine at birth which left her in need of an orthosis (an externally applied device used to modify the structural and functional characteristics of the skeletal system). 

The most reassuring thing about this short trip was that there is no doubt in my mind that working on specific projects, with Syrian partners, employing Syrian refugees is without doubt the best way to spend the funds we raise each year.

From January we hope to fund two new projects and as always their sustainability and ability to be run by Syrians will be crucial criteria.
Singing for Syrians - Carols at St Margaret's, Westminster
We've had all feet to the pedal to gear up for Singing for Syrians, this year's whole new spin on Hands Up’s annual fundraiser. The victims of Syria's civil war need aid now more than ever, and we’re responding the only way we know how; by giving you the opportunity to  help while having a great time in the process. So if you've been wondering what you can do to support, here is your answer.
We’re holding a flagship carol concert at St Margaret’s, Westminster on Tuesday 13th December. The good news is YOU are invited and tickets are just £15. So buy one quick, tell your friends, family and others to come on down, sing and do something good.

Why come? If the above is not reason enough to tempt you, there’ll be music, carols, ‘celeb’ soloists and readings from Simon Callow, amongst others.

Can’t make it? Don’t worry, there are many ways you can support the appeal; e.g. hold your own Singing for Syrians fundraiser. We'll even send you a how-to pack for free - ask for one here.

That's it, everything you need to know, so buy your ticket quick before they run out. We'll see you on 13th December ready to sing and raise the roof.
Syrian Supper Clubs and other inspired events held by you!
Hands Up is only ever as good as the people who are prepared to get involved and this they have been doing in abundance. We are continuously amazed and galvanised by your creativity, generosity and sheer determination. There have been Syrian Suppers in Melbourne, Singing for Syrians gigs in London and other wonderful fundraisers all over to help the kind of people George mentions in his trip report above.

Here we're calling out just a few who have been waving the fundraising flag. 
  • On a Tuesday morning in North Yorkshire Vicky Chidley and a fabulous committee (Clare, Gwyn, Caroline, Francesca and Rachel) put on a coffee morning which became a clothes sale (the likes of which Vogue's finest would die for). They raised over £7,000
  • The lovely people at the Flow Gallery have once again held a Syrian Supper, producing a feast for some very lucky people and raising £1,200 in the process.
  • Brett Nielsen and Loran Guinesst are cycling the length of the Chilean/Argentinian border, starting in November and have raised £5,000 so far. You can follow their progress here. Cycle safe!
  • Cleo Roberts is setting up a Cambridge branch of the Syrian Supper Club and holding the first at the delightful Hot Numbers Coffee on November 19th. Book here.
  • Joanna Carolan held a Syrian Supper with a twist and belly danced for her guests raising £1,880
  • Kate Cavalier teamed up with Johnnie from Hands Up to put on a Syrian Souk in the City, feeding 200 people in two sittings with fast and fabulous food provided by Abu Zaad. They raised £12,000.
If you're inspired (and who wouldn't be, we all have the power to do something) and want to hold your own fundraiser, for:
We would love to hear from you. 
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