by Michelle Heffernan
Tomorrow, Saturday December 22nd, something magical is happening across Waterford city. From ever corner of the county, musicians will come together to fill our streets with music and busk in aid of the homeless. Tomorrow brings Buskaid 2018, Ireland’s first and only city wide busk in aid of two fantastic charities-Tinteán Housing Association and the Waterford Lions Club Christmas Hamper Appeal. We spoke to Buskaid founder Tadhg Williams on this wonderful movement and how the power of music can unite us all for the greater good
Hi Tadhg! Tell us in your own words what exactly is BuskAid?
BuskAid is a charity fundraiser first and foremost.. It’s all about bringing people together to fight for a common cause. Music is a universal language… it unites us. So the idea of using music and the arts to bring people together to fight homelessness is strong. I like to call BuskAid ‘a walking winter music festival.’ The aim of the day is to have buskers located all over the city centre, all volunteers, and all the funds raised go directly to two charities in Waterford that contribute to tackling the homelessness crisis that we have in this country at the moment.
Fantastic! And where did your idea for BuskAid come from?
When I was in school I busked at the weekends and during the holidays to make a few extra pound .I was busking on New Years Eve about four years ago and it struck me how many people were sitting on the side of the street and would still be there while I was at home with my family ringing in the new year. So I took the money I made, went into the pound shop, bought a load of sandwiches, crisps, chocolate, bottles of Coke and water, that kind of thing and bagged them up and gave them to anyone I saw. Hoped it’d bring some kind of comfort to them.
The following year in the approach to Christmas the homelessness crisis was in the news even more so than the previous year and I thought about that and said, why don’t we do that on a larger scale? Before I knew it we were actually running this massive charity fundraiser with an army of volunteers and even had jumpers with a BuskAid logo on them.
What have been the outcomes of BuskAid since it began?
This is our third year in action and in the previous two years we raised €3,700 and €5,500. In our first year we made a decision to keep the funds raised local so we chose two charities to donate to – the Lions Club Christmas Hamper Appeal and the Tinteán Housing Association.
What do these charities do for the people of Waterford?
Tinteán provide accommodation with support to women and families in a homeless situation and we saw the support aspect of that as being just as important as putting a roof over their heads. Giving people the tools they need to battle the causes of their situation so it doesn’t happen again is vital. We also said that homelessness prevention is just as important as well, the figure is high enough already, we don’t need it getting any bigger and that means tackling poverty. The Lions Club Christmas Hamper Appeal help give people a Christmas instead of choosing between that and paying their rent. It helps thousands of families across Waterford and all the hampers they put together are purchased locally so all the money that goes to the Lions Club goes back into the local economy as well.
Buskaid begins tomorrow December 22nd at 11am and will finish with a wonderful group busking session at 5pm in John Roberts square. Please keep an eye out for volunteers and buskers in their bright yellow Buskaid 2018 jumpers and donate to this fantastic cause!
To find out more about Buskaid 2018 visit buskaid.net. Buskaid 2018 is kindly sponsored by Waterford in Your Pocket, Waterford Winterval, SuirDzign, Viking Promotions, Healing in Harmony Therapies,WAMA, Jordan’s American Bar, Matthew Reilly Photography, GOMA, Thomas Grace Photography, Blackfriars Coffee, Golden Discs, Metalman Brewing Waterford, Creative MaSH, Outcast Theatre Productions, Neil Power Painting Inc. and Garter Lane Arts Centre
by Michelle Heffernan