I’m running SODA: an alcohol-free club night in support of refugees

Eve Doherty is running a club night with a difference, in support of Help Refugees. Here she sets out her inspirations and motivations, and how she went about organising a party with a purpose.

SODA club night grew from a desire to hold an alcohol-free club night to provide party options for those who don’t drink or who would like to experience an alcohol-free social environment.

We also wanted it to be welcoming to people who would find typical club nights inaccessible in other ways. As the idea grew, I suggested holding it as a fundraiser for Help Refugees because the organisation is so close to my heart. It was agreed that this is what we would do! Hopefully this will be the first of many SODA club nights in aid of Help Refugees.

In both February and June this year I went to Calais to volunteer. Meeting displaced people who have escaped violence and are now living rough and experiencing abuse at the hands of the police in France, made me determined to do all I can to support peoples’ right to dignity and life on the UK border. A vital part of responding to this, for me, has been raising money so that Help Refugees, and their partners, have money to continue offering essentials, food, and support.

I am inspired by the work of Help Refugees because their aim is solidarity, not charity. It is not about swooping in and deciding what’s best for others but listening to what people need and trying to provide it in as dignified a way as possible. It is volunteer-led and totally grassroots, which affects the culture of the organisation in a positive way.

It was relatively easy to set up a night like this – we booked a church hall space (which the church have provided for free, since it is a fundraiser), contacted friends who could DJ, asked a local collective if we could use their sound system, made some posters and a Facebook event, asked friends to volunteer to help out, put some creative thought into the space, and now we’re almost ready to go!! People have been keen to support the night because they like the idea of having sober options to socialise and want to support Help Refugees, too.

I hope that the event will be a lot of fun – providing an opportunity to have a sober party experience with some great tunes, dancing for those who do, and decent(!) alcohol-free drinks (not just orange juice and cola here, folks!), whilst making much-needed cash for those who are destitute on our border. All money from drinks sales, door money, and sale of unique ‘solidarity badges’ will go to Help Refugees.

Please come along on 14th September at 8.30pm, if you are in the area – all are very welcome! It will be a friendly crowd – we hope people will be able to come alone and still feel part of the community.

  • Date and time: 14th September at 8.30pm
  • Venue: St Paul’s Church Hall / The Hive, 491 Wilmslow Road, Withington, Manchester, M20 4AW
  • Event details: This venue is level-access, wheelchair accessible and has accessible toilets. Strobe lighting will not be used and there will be a quiet room available.

Feeling inspired? Find out more about organising your own fundraiser for Help Refugees.