Press Releases

Your local Oxfam shop needs you: All-island call for volunteers

  • Are charity shops your thing? Then why not volunteer in your local Oxfam Ireland shop!

  • Oxfam Shops Across the Island of Ireland seek volunteers


Oxfam Ireland have launched an all island call for volunteers to help their network of shops “bounce back” after the COVID-19 lockdown, which resulted in them closing their doors for the first time in over 60 years.

Trevor Anderson, Director of Trading with Oxfam Ireland said: “Our teams are thankfully back doing what they do best and our shops are now open after months of closure. Sadly, not all of our volunteers are in a position to return to the shops at the moment, this, coupled with the incredibly generous volume of donations dropped off to shops already, means we are currently in desperate need of people power.

“I would encourage anyone interested in lending some time to pop into their local Oxfam shop and let the manager know - people can give as little or as much time as they like. Oxfam shops are a hive of activity with lots of opportunities to meet new people, learn new skills, and of course, have plenty of fun along the way.

“Our volunteers are the backbone of our network of shops and by giving a little of their time and creativity, each person makes a huge difference in support of some of the most at-risk communities in the world.

“It is because of the commitment and enthusiasm of our amazing volunteers that Oxfam can change lives and work toward building a fairer and more sustainable world for everyone.”

At the start of April, Oxfam shops, along with countless other businesses in Ireland, made the difficult decision to close – to protect staff, volunteers and customers – and to play its part in Ireland’s response to COVID-19.

Oxfam Ireland’s network of shops play a vital role in supporting their work in some of the world’s poorest countries, helping people to lift themselves out of poverty and thrive as well as saving lives when disaster strikes. The loss of income during this period dealt a massive blow to the capacity of Oxfam and their global mission to beat poverty and fight inequality.

To find your nearest Oxfam Ireland shop visit: https://www.oxfamireland.org/shop/oxfam-shops

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Contact

Caroline Reid | caroline.reid@oxfam.org | +353 (0) 87 912 3165

Alice Dawson-Lyons | alice.dawsonlyons@oxfam.org | +353 (0) 83 198 1869


Notes to the Editor

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New asylum system in Greece designed to deport, not protect, warns Greek Council for Refugees and Oxfam

Oxfam Ireland call on Irish Government to honour commitment made on unaccompanied minors

A briefing paper released by the Greek Council of Refugees (GCR) and Oxfam today, reveals how the newly reformed Greek asylum system is designed to deport people rather than offer them safety and protection. The joint report, Diminished, Derogated, Denied, shows that people who have fled violence and persecution have little chance of a fair asylum procedure, and how the new reforms make it possible to expose people to abuse and exploitation – including the detention of particularly vulnerable groups such as children, pregnant women and people with disabilities.

Evelien van Roemburg, Oxfam’s Europe Migration Campaign Manager, said: “Greece’s new law is a blatant attack on Europe’s humanitarian commitment to protect people fleeing conflict and persecution. The European Union is complicit in this abuse, because for years it has been using Greece as a test ground for new migration policies. We are extremely worried that the EU will now use Greece’s asylum system as a blueprint for Europe’s upcoming asylum reform.

“While Greece has a sovereign right to manage its borders, it must protect the fundamental principle of non-refoulement. The EU and Greece have made a political choice to jeopardise the lives and futures of people it has a responsibility to protect.”

This situation is further aggravated by the inhumane living conditions in Greece’s refugee camps where people are now at risk of a devastating health crisis should COVID-19 hit. Moria camp, for example, is currently at six times its capacity and people have insufficient access to basic healthcare, clean toilets or handwashing facilities, while overcrowding makes social distancing - critical to prevent COVID-19 spreading - next to impossible.

Testimonies gathered by the Greek Council for Refugees expose the harrowing living conditions for people seeking asylum in Moria camp. Rawan*, from Afghanistan, came to Greece with her two children to seek safety in Europe. A single mother, and also a survivor of gender-based violence, Rawan was forced to live for six months in a tent, in the overspill area of the Moria camp, where basic facilities such as toilets are not always accessible.

Rawan, from Afghanistan said: “The situation in Moria was scary. During the pandemic, everybody was afraid that if the virus gets to us, then they will dig a mass grave to bury us. They only gave us two masks and soap. But how are we supposed to wash our hands without water? In the food line, it was so packed, we couldn’t keep a distance. We were not protected.”

The reformed asylum law effectively bars people who don’t have legal support from appealing a negative asylum decision. Deadlines have been shortened drastically and, in many cases, expire before people are even informed that their application for asylum was refused. People seeking asylum are only able to submit an appeal through a lawyer – but, on Lesbos, there is only one state-sponsored lawyer. The asylum system also makes it extremely difficult for people seeking asylum to have the authorities properly review the reasons why they have fled conflict or persecution in their home countries.

Spyros-Vlad Oikonomou, advocacy officer at GCR said: “When the Greek authorities refuse an asylum application, it does not necessarily mean people are not in need of international protection. It is often a consequence of the accelerated asylum procedure applied in the context of border procedures. Short deadlines increase the possibility of errors. In addition, people don’t have the time or a suitable environment that allows them to prepare for the asylum interview, in which they have to speak about the horrors from which they have fled.

“This puts people’s lives at risk.

“The Greek government must restore a fair asylum system, which fully respects human rights. The European Commission must review Greece’s asylum practices and assess their compliance with EU law.”

Oxfam and GCR call on the Greek government and the EU to immediately review the new Greek asylum law and give everyone seeking asylum in Greece access to a fair and effective asylum procedure. They also call on EU member states to honour the principle of solidarity underlying the very fabric of the EU, and share responsibility with Greece in protecting people fleeing persecution.

In March, Ireland joined a coalition of willing EU member states who agreed to take a portion of the 1,600 unaccompanied refugee children being held on the Greek Islands. Several countries have already relocated children to their respective states. Ireland, by fulfilling this commitment, can demonstrate an important first step to responsibility sharing and an immediate show of solidarity in these challenging and unprecedented times. The unaccompanied minors on the Greek Islands, children alone in the world, are in need of a safe place now more than ever.

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Contact:

Caroline Reid | caroline.reid@oxfam.org | +353 (0) 87 912 3165

Alice Dawson-Lyons | alice.dawsonlyons@oxfam.org | +353 (0) 83 198 1869

Notes to editors:

* Names have been changed to protect identities.

  • Spokespeople are available in Athens, Lesbos and Brussels for interview
  • Full report: Diminished, Derogated, Denied
  • The Greek government also illegally suspended asylum applications for the month of March.
  • While the authorities sometimes decide within days on the asylum requests of people who arrived in 2020, those who have arrived in 2019 have to wait for months or even years for their first interview to take place. During this period, most are not allowed to leave the inhuman EU-sponsored camps on the Greek islands.
  • The Greek authorities are required to offer legal support to people seeking asylum in the appeals stage. This is to ensure that any mistakes in the first instance can be corrected and people entitled to international protection are not returned to potentially dangerous places. However, state-funded lawyers is very limited and in 2019, only 33% of appeals benefited from the state-funded legal support scheme. The majority of people are directed to NGO-funded lawyers, but NGOs have limited capacity and the restricted movement in the camps also prevents people from easily finding a lawyer at an NGO.
  • The European Commission will soon release a new Migration and Asylum Pact, which will lay out the direction for the EU and member states to reform the EU asylum system and the bloc’s migration policies. The new Pact will most likely suggest to use more development aid to curb migration, and it risks perpetuating the humanitarian catastrophe that has been unfolding in Greece over the past years.
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Media Reactive: UNHCR Global Trends Report - Forced Displacement 2019

  • UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, published its annual Global Trends report today showing an increase in the number of forcibly displaced people in the world.
  • By the end of 2019, an unprecedented 79.5 million were displaced – the highest number the UNHCR has ever seen and an increase of almost 9 million since the end of 2018.

Responding to the report, Jim Clarken, Chief Executive of Oxfam Ireland said:

“It’s deeply concerning that the number of forcibly displaced people has increased for the eighth year in a row to yet another record level.

“The starkest figure released by far is the high percentage of children, who make up 40 per cent of the total number of forcibly displaced people in 2019.

“In addition to the violence, persecution and hardship that people are fleeing, many are now also facing the threat of the global coronavirus pandemic in overcrowded camps without enough clean water or access to health care, alongside additional climate related threats.

“Many people are also stranded at shut borders, or denied asylum because of the pandemic. It’s important that measures to curb the spread of the disease don’t make it harder for people who are forced to flee their homes.

“With the vast majority of the world’s refugees in developing countries, often struggling themselves with hunger and weak infrastructure, it’s time for the international community to step up and fully recognise asylum as fundamental right, invest in peacebuilding and support the call for a global ceasefire.

“UNHCR’s report coincides with Ireland’s successful tenure to the UN Security Council yesterday. Ireland, through its diplomatic representation, now has a window of opportunity - a platform and space among nations with extraordinary power - to be a global voice for peace, and a vocal advocate for the rights of communities affected by conflict.

“This is more important now than ever, with the UNHCR citing one of the two main reasons for the significant increase in people on the move is new displacement - particularly in Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Sahel, Yemen and Syria – all engulfed in protracted conflict, with the latter now in its tenth year of conflict and accounting for a sixth of the world’s total of forcibly displaced people.

“Ireland’s position on the UN Security Council is an opportunity to positively affect the lives of millions of people living under the threat of violence and instability due to conflict."

ENDS

Contact

Caroline Reid | caroline.reid@oxfam.org | +353 (0) 87 912 3165

Alice Dawson-Lyons | alice.dawsonlyons@oxfam.org | +353 (0) 83 198 1869

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Broadcaster Lorraine Keane and Oxfam announce Fashion Relief TV with Axonista

  • Weekly online show broadcast straight from Lorraine Keane’s home to yours

  • Viewers can shop sustainably and raise vital funds for Oxfam’s COVID-19 response

Broadcaster Lorraine Keane and Oxfam Ireland are excited to announce a new partnership with interactive video technology company Axonista that will bring the hugely successful Fashion Relief event online. After the fashion fundraiser’s Dublin event was postponed due to COVID-19, Keane and Axonista developed an innovative solution that will bring the rails and catwalk of Fashion Relief into living rooms all over Ireland through Fashion Relief TV, a 30 minute programme aired from Keane’s home every Friday at 7.00pm. The show will also allow viewers to click and buy what they see, raising vital funds for Oxfam’s work worldwide, including their COVID-19 response in some of the world’s poorest countries.

Launching on Friday 12th June 2020, Fashion Relief TV is an always on platform so viewers can watch back and shop at any time. Each Friday at 7.00pm on fashionrelief.ie, Fashion Relief TV will update with new hand-picked clothes, accessories and shoes which can be purchased and posted directly to viewers.

Lorraine Keane said: “It was such a disappointment to have to postpone the rest of our Fashion Relief 2020 events after so much preparation, not to mention the overwhelming amount of designer and premium items we’d been donated.

“So, we are delighted to be partnering with the team at Axonista to bring Fashion Relief online – even though you can’t come to us, we can now bring Fashion Relief straight to you! With Axonista, we’ll be bringing you a fashion programme with a twist! As expected, we’ll be showcasing beautiful pre-loved and brand new pieces from the wardrobes of some of Ireland’s most fashionable women as well as from designers and boutiques all over Ireland, but you’ll also be able to click on the items you love and buy them as the platform works as an online shopping channel too.

“By bagging a bargain from Fashion Relief, you’ll also be shopping more sustainably, helping to divert pre-loved and end of line clothes from landfill, doing your bit for people and planet. What’s not to love?”

Claire McHugh, CEO of Axonista said: "We were delighted to bring our interactive video technology to the aid of Fashion Relief. We’ve learned a lot about shoppable video through our work with global brands like QVC and the Home Shopping Network. This campaign is truly remarkable, both for its inherent sustainability and meaningful impact on communities ravaged by climate change, who need our support now more than ever."

Fashion Relief is part of Oxfam’s solution to ‘throwaway fashion’, encouraging people to donate pre-loved items and reduce the amount of clothes that end up in landfill as well as shopping second-hand to give pre-loved clothes a longer life. Fashion Relief works with retailers, supporting them to donate their end of line or excess stock to us instead of sending it to landfill – a more sustainable solution for people and planet.

Keane continued: “As part of Fashion Relief, I’ve travelled to Ethiopia, Somaliland and more recently Bangladesh to see first-hand how the profits raised help some of the poorest and most at risk people through Oxfam’s work – people made even more vulnerable because of the deadly threat of COVID-19. 

“In Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh, I met families who live alongside almost one million other Rohingya refugees who fled unimaginable violence in Myanmar. Since then, they have faced the double threat of COVID-19 in an overcrowded and woefully inadequate camp where social distancing is impossible alongside monsoon season and the strongest ever recorded cyclone in Bengal Bay.

“When you support Fashion Relief, you’re helping to raise vital funds for people in dire need in Cox’s Bazar and across the world - funds that are needed more now than ever before.”

Fashion Relief Friday launches on Friday 12th June 2020 at 7.00pm on www.fashionrelief.ie. After that, simply log on any time throughout the week to browse and buy. Every Friday at 7.00pm a new show with new content will be aired so you can bag yourself a bargain from the comfort of your own home.

To find out more, visit www.fashionrelief.ie

ENDS

CONTACT: Lorraine Keane (Fashion Relief with Oxfam) and Claire McHugh (Axonista) are available for interview.

Caroline Reid | caroline.reid@oxfam.org | +353 (0) 87 912 3165

Alice Dawson-Lyons | alice.dawsonlyons@oxfam.org | +353 (0) 83 198 1869

Notes the editor:

"Doortrait" images of Lorraine Keane, Rosanna Davison, Maia Dunphy, Mary Kennedy and Yvonne Melinn are free for use and can be accessed here: https://oxfam.box.com/s/d9vdyhmgmpncq5cnhbgou48iivgee2xc

Suggested Photo Caption:

Broadcaster Lorraine Keane and stars Rosanna Davison, Mary Kennedy, Maia Dunphy and Yvonne Melinn of YStyleIreland took to their doorsteps to announce Fashion Relief TV in partnership with Axonista - a 30 minute programme broadcast straight from Keane's home to yours which allows you to shop while watch and raise funds for Oxfam Ireland. For more, visit: fashionrelief.ie

About Fashion Relief: Fashion Relief is a fundraiser extraordinaire that offers people the unique opportunity to bag a bargain from the wardrobe of their style icon or beloved brand, boutique or designer. It started in May 2018 and has since rolled out annual events in Dublin, Cork and Galway. All profits support Oxfam’s work in some of the world’s poorest countries, helping people to lift themselves out of poverty and thrive as well as saving lives when disaster strikes.

About Oxfam Ireland: Oxfam is a global movement of people who won’t live with the injustice of poverty. Together they save lives and rebuild communities when disaster strikes. They help people build better lives for themselves. They speak out on the big issues that keep people poor, like inequality and discrimination against women. And they won’t stop until every person on the planet can live without poverty. Oxfam Ireland is one of 20 Oxfams working in over 90 countries worldwide.

For more, visit oxfamireland.org

About Axonista: Axonista is the award-winning team behind Ediflo, an enterprise-level video technology platform that enables media companies and brands to build interactive video applications across all screens. Based in Dublin and New York, and employing a team of 30, this interactive video technology company helps their customers to tell stories in entirely new ways.

Axonista’s technology powers some of the world’s most popular video streaming apps. Customers include QVC, Virgin Media, The Home Shopping Network, VideoElephant, WaterBear and the Irish Film Institute. Over a ten year history, Axonista has won numerous awards for its ground-breaking work in video, and was recently named one of the 250 most significant Irish Corporations invested in the US.

For more information visit axonista.com

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Oxfam Ireland calls on decluttering public to do the #JoeyChallenge4Oxfam – a donation drive with a twist!

Charity shops call for donations ahead of June 8th reopening

 

Oxfam Ireland has launched a fun challenge – the #JoeyChallenge4Oxfam - to encourage people to declutter and save their donations for when the charity’s shops in the Republic of Ireland reopen on June 8th. The Joey Challenge encourages people to showcase their unwanted items by re-creating the infamous scene from popular television when Joey Tribbiani puts on as many layers of clothes as possible.

At the start of April, along with many other businesses, Oxfam Ireland made the difficult decision to close its network of shops – to protect staff, volunteers and customers – and to play its part in the country’s response to COVID-19.

Trevor Anderson, Director of Trading with Oxfam Ireland said: “Our shops play a vital role in raising much-needed funds for our work globally – they are central to ensuring we can continue to protect and support some of the most vulnerable people in the world.

“Today, we are calling on people to drop their donations of clothes, accessories and bric-a-brac to their local Oxfam. Ahead of opening our doors on June 8th, our staff and volunteers will be in the shops getting them safety-ready to recommence business and they will gladly accept your pre-loved items.

“The reality is, after more than two months of closure – your donations are needed more than ever – especially as we respond to the threat of COVID-19 in some of the most fragile places on earth.”

So, how does Oxfam’s Joey Challenge work?

 

First things first, if you haven’t already, get decluttering! Oxfam shops accept clothes, shoes, accessories, bric-a-brac, books, DVDs and more. Once you have gathered your items for donation show Oxfam what you’ve got – Joey style! Take a photo of you and your donations and post it on Instagram or Facebook with the hashtag #JoeyChallenge4Oxfam, making sure to nominate a friend. You can go original by putting on as many layers of clothing as possible, or try one of Oxfam’s alternative (and fun) Joey Challenges:

  • The Joey Original: Layer on as many of the clothes and accessories you are going to donate as possible.
  • The Joey Fresh: Hang all the clothes you are going to donate on your washing line or over your staircase’s bannister or over your arms!
  • The Joey Traditional: Simply fold and pile the clothes you are doing to donate – let’s see how high you can go!
  • The Showy Joey: Put on a fashion show and model some of the items you are going to donate.
  • The Novel Joey: Just donating books?! Stack ‘em up – or build something with them!
  • The Joey Mishmash: Gather the bric-a-brac you are going to donate.
  • The Joey Freestyle: Show us what you got in your own unique way!

Once you have completed your Joey Challenge box or bag up your unwanted items and drop them to your nearest Oxfam shop. While our doors don’t open until June 8th, staff will be in store from June 2nd, ready to accept your donations.

Next step? Feel good about this. Your pre-loved items are a lifeline. By donating to your local Oxfam, you are playing a part in Oxfam’s global work to beat poverty and fight inequality – which is now more urgent than ever as COVID-19 reaches vulnerable and at-risk populations. Lastly, you’ll also be reducing the amount of textiles that ends up in Irish landfills every year – helping our planet and people.

To find out more about the #JoeyChallenge4Oxfam visit: https://stories.oxfamireland.org/joeychallenge4oxfam/

Shop opening hours may vary in the initial weeks after re-opening - so please bear with us as we restart business.

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Contact

Caroline Reid, External Communications Coordinator |caroline.reid@oxfam.org| 087 912 3165

Notes to the editor

*We are hoping to officially reopen our shops in the Republic of Ireland from June 8th / Phase two of Ireland's roadmap – however this is dependent on Friday's announcement and whether the government green light the next phase of reopening.

We are still waiting on government recommendations on reopening in Northern Ireland.

Find your local Oxfam shop: https://www.oxfamireland.org/shops

What can I donate? https://www.oxfamireland.org/shop/donate-to-shops

Safety measures Oxfam Ireland Shops will be taking:

  •  All shops will have a suite of PPE: sneeze screens in front of the tills, social distancing measures and messaging throughout the store  and a sanitation station at the entrance.
  • Staff and volunteers will wear masks and they will have an infrared thermometer in each shop to ensure regular check-ups - as well plenty of handwashing - throughout the day.
  • We do expect a surge in donations and have put guidelines and processes in place to manage this eventuality.
  • As part of the overall ‘Covid Compliant Reopening Plan’ which focuses on the Health & Safety of our Staff, Volunteers, Customers and Donors all stock donations will be quarantined for 72 hours before going on sale.
  • All shops have had a risk assessment carried out and all staff and volunteers will be taken through COVID-19 Compliant Health & Safety training before they start their shift.

 

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