Bishop and Lord Mayor of Coventry will unveil charity’s new premises

CRMC announces official opening of new home

Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre (CRMC) is delighted to announce the official opening of its new home at Norton House on Wednesday 28 March.

Dignitaries, partners and supporters from across the city will be in attendance for the celebration, including The Bishop of Coventry, the Right Reverend Dr Christopher Cocksworth, The Lord Mayor of Coventry, Councillor Tony Skipper and Councillor Linda Bigham. All will be delivering speeches about the move, before officially announcing the charity has completed its relocation at the bespoke event.

The decision to move was part of a long term strategy that will help secure the future of CRMC, by providing the charity with stable accommodation and moving it closer to its client group.

The Lord Mayor of Coventry, Councillor Tony Skipper has been a key supporter of the charity during the past 12 months. Last September he presented awards to refugees and migrants in the city for their volunteering and academic efforts. He said: “Coventry has a conscience, echoing from its own experiences during World War Two. It is a very caring city, with a proud history of offering a welcome to those fleeing war and persecution.

This move will ensure the charity continues to sit at the heart of this (Coventry’s) welcome for years to come, and it will be a real pleasure to be able to help them celebrate their official opening.”

The awards ceremony hosted by the Lord Mayor, where he presented certificates to some of the people we support, recognising their achievements since arriving in Coventry.

The Bishop of Coventry, the Right Reverend Dr Christopher Cocksworth played a key part in urging people to support the move when it was first announced last April. He said: “When the move was initially announced, Norton House had been derelict for a long time, and needed loads of work to make it usable again.

“The efforts by their staff, volunteers and supporters across Coventry and beyond to turn this run-down building into a place of hope and sanctuary for refugees and migrants in the city is incredible to see, and highlights our city’s great and generous tradition of offering peace and sanctuary to those that most need it.”

The Bishop of Coventry meeting Syrian refugees in December 2016, when they cooked a meal to raise money for the destitute in the city. Photo credit: Andy McGeechan

Toni Soni, Centre Director at Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre said: “Over the past year our wonderful staff and supporters have dedicated their time to building a home that is fit to welcome vulnerable newly people into the city, so that they can rebuild their lives and achieve their full potential.

“At times it has been extremely difficult, and I would like to thank the kindness and commitment of all those that have supported this move and made it possible. This will culminate in our official opening next Wednesday, and I am delighted that we will be able to share this moment with so many wonderful friends and partners from across the city.”

Following the official opening, staff and clients at the charity will be hosting an ‘Open Afternoon’ for the general public to find out more about CRMC, the services it offers and the people it works with. The event will take place from 1300 – 1500hrs at Norton House, Bird Street, Coventry, CV1 5FX.

Toni Soni said: “Those attending will have the opportunity to find out more about our charity, which welcomes asylum seekers, refugees and migrants to support them to integrate and rebuild their lives in a safe and dignifying manner.

“Our vision is to provide a place that not only provides important services for the vulnerable in our city, but also to create a community space where we can promote integration and community cohesion, by breaking down barriers and bringing people together. This is the first small step towards this.”

Entrance to the event is free, but please book a ticket via this link in advance: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/open-day-at-coventry-refugee-and-migrant-centre-tickets-44258090139. Due to high demand and limited space at Norton House, those without tickets will have to queue or may unfortunately be unable to secure access on the day.

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