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YMCA hoping to reach target for Geldof concert

Work on the stage at Manoel Island that will host Bob Geldof, among other foreign and local bands and musicians, is being finalised. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

Work on the stage at Manoel Island that will host Bob Geldof, among other foreign and local bands and musicians, is being finalised. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

YMCA Valletta has witnessed a jump of 10 per cent in the number of clients with social problems who have visited its shelter since the launch of its fund-raising campaign last month.

Jean Paul Mifsud, chairman of this non-profit voluntary organisation, said that its campaign had actually encouraged more people to come forward for help.

Overall, YMCA has faced an increase of 11 per cent who have required its help in the first six months of this year, over the same period last year.

Last year, more than 9,000 people benefited from YMCA's social work, with 1,283 people gaining direct help, through 6,405 interventions.

The campaign, named Twelve Appeal Campaign, was based on the fact that YMCA's total expenditure is Lm12 an hour, or Lm106,000 a year, with the government funding 20 per cent of the budget.

The campaign culminates with the music festival being held at Manoel Island tomorrow starring Bob Geldof, famous for his global campaigns against poverty, as well as three tribute bands from the UK for Coldplay, U2 and Queen.

Mr Mifsud hoped that the entire campaign would help raise a much-needed Lm30,000. Ticket sales were going well - the venue is geared to take 5,000 people and there were about 1,000 tickets left - so he was hoping the target sum would be reached.

"Whatever the case, the campaign has been a great success on a level of awareness of the services YMCA provides," he said at a press conference yesterday.

YMCA assists many different groups of people, from troubled families to homeless individuals, victims of domestic violence to people living in substandard accommodation.

The organisation deals with about 50 individuals a day, while more than 20 people a day, mainly women and children, take shelter at its Dar Niki Cassar, which not only provides a place to sleep for the homeless but also support services.

Discussing tomorrow's concert, Mr Mifsud said that preparations are in full swing and work on the stage, with Valletta as the backdrop, was being finalised.

The concert, which is being presented by Midi plc, Vodafone Malta and HCBC Bank Malta plc, will also feature performances by Maltese artistes Carrie & Band, Ira Losco and Winter Moods.

But the star of the night is Bob Geldof, who apart from having enjoyed great success with his albums has also raised millions to fight global poverty.

He is expected to arrive in Malta in the early hours of tomorrow.

Tickets are available from Vodafone outlets. On the night, doors open at 6 p.m.

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