Coventry Bishop Christopher Cocksworth has urged the local community to support the Coventry Refugee & Migrant Centre (CRMC) through a new fundraising campaign. In a speech last April 11, he encouraged citizens to help the CRMC fund their move to a new base at Norton House in Hillfields.
The CRMC provides food, clothing and temporary shelter for many vulnerable people within Coventry, and is at the heart of the effort to help those who have fled the war in Syria. Staff, some former-refugees, support migrants resettling in the UK by helping integrate them into local community.
The new Norton House base requires basic structural repairs and additional work to ensure that the space is able to function as a base for the support centre. Coventry City Council hopes the space will benefit the wider community by making it multifunctional. This will include a freely accessible exhibition space to be open on weekends.
The Bishop has previously expressed his support for refugees through his backing of the CRMC’s art therapy scheme and in his role as the President of YMCA Coventry and Warwickshire.
He reinforced his support at the annual CRMC meeting last week: “For the past 17 years, CRMC has sat at the heart of this welcome, helping vulnerable refugees to rebuild their lives in dignity and begin contributing to our city.”
The meeting was attended by the Lord Mayor of Coventry and Councillor Linda Bigham, who also backed the appeal.
Sabir Zazai, Chief Executive at the CRMC, hopes the fundraising campaign will be help reinforce the city’s “proud history of welcome, peace and reconciliation. We want it to be a place where hope is renewed and bridges are built across communities, helping to encourage integration and overcome cultural and racial misconceptions.”
The CRMC, which helped over 3,500 people last year, including Syrian refugees and the city’s homeless, is accepting any donations from money to free labour.
The CRMC has previously been working with Warwick students through Student Action for Refugees (STAR), a volunteer group which runs informal English teaching workshops and supports refugees, migrants and asylum seekers through fundraising and other campaign work.