Over a thousand people, charities and other organisations from across Coventry came together on Saturday to celebrate Refugee Week.
They were attending Coventry Refugee & Migrant Centres (CRMC) annual ‘Party in the Park’ at Primrose Hill Park, Hillfields in aid of Refugee Week, an annual worldwide event to celebrate the contributions refugees make and to encourage a better understanding between different communities. Now in its 12th year, the free event brings together communities from across the city for a day of live music, sport, entertainment, food from around the world and the opportunity to engage with new people.
Dimitri Kafizas, Advice Team manager at CRMC organised the event. He said: “Once again, the people and organisations of Coventry have come out in their droves and done the city proud.
“The main idea behind this event is to get people outside, engaging and meeting with other communities, and today we’ve had that in abundance.
“Be it the Afghan, Syrian, Eritrean, Slovakian, Irish or native Coventrian communities, it’s been fantastic to see us all coming together as one to celebrate what we have in common.”
The event would not have been possible without the support of other organisations from the city. Positive Youth Foundation put together a range of sports games for children, while Vanny Radio and Media Mania produced four hours of live entertainment, with performances from budding young musicians in the city.
Dimitri said: “While we at CRMC organise and manage the event, the party wouldn’t be a success without the support of so many other good hearted people and organisations.
“I’d like to say a particular thank you to Positive Youth Foundation, Coventry City Council, Coventry Libraries, Warwick Star, Asylum Matters, Foleshill Women’s Training, British Red Cross, CRASAC, West Midlands Police, The Coventry Irish Society, St John’s Ambulance, Vanny Radio & Media Mania, all of whom have had either stalls today, or turned out to support.”
A range of food from around the world was also on offer at the party, including from the newly arrived Syrian community. Despite it being Ramadan which meant the Syrians were fasting, they prepared traditional Syrian food for attendees to enjoy. This included foul modamas, a broad bean salad and baqlawa, a traditional Syrian sweet. Abdulmunem Redwan, a former Syrian refugee, now helps other newly arrived Syrians and supported the community with cooking the food. He said: “It was a great pleasure and honour to cook this food for the people of Coventry. We are very happy and thankful for the support we’ve received since arriving, so it was the least we could do to say thank you.”
Over £700 was also raised for The Coventry Destitution Fund from a number of raffles and competitions. Dimitri said: “The money raised will support the homeless and most vulnerable people in Coventry, including migrants and refugees. All money raised is used to feed, shelter and clothe the destitute within the city.”
Wasps Rugby, Albany Theatre and The Belgrade Theatre were just a few of the organisations to donate prizes to the raffle.
Dimitri said: “The community spirit, drive and commitment of all those attending has inspired us to already begin planning for Refugee Week 2018.
“We hope to see all of those from this year and many more attending once again!”