Over 100 people from Coventry and beyond celebrated the official opening of Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre’s (CRMC) new home at Norton House last Wednesday (28 March).
Dignitaries, partners and supporters from across the city were 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. After speeches by each about what the move meant, they made the move to CRMC’s new home official by unveiling a bespoke plaque at the centre.
The Lord Mayor of Coventry, Councillor Tony Skipper said: “The council are proud to have worked with the centre to create the new home at Norton House and it is back in Hillfields where the story all started for this remarkable charity.
“It’s set to be a home for some amazing work and it’s a crucial part of what Coventry is; a wonderful place of welcome and sanctuary.”
The Bishop of Coventry, the Right Reverend Dr Christopher Cocksworth added:
“Just like Coventry rebuilt itself after World War Two, Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre continues to help those fleeing war rebuild their lives. It plays a key role in this city’s continuing offer of providing hope to those that most need it, and it is a wonderful achievement to move into this new building.”
Councillor Linda Bigham added: “Welcoming people into Coventry is in our very bones. I think it’s in our DNA now and we wouldn’t be us if we ever stopped.”
The move to the new building is part of a long-term strategy that will help to secure the future of CRMC, by providing the charity with stable accommodation and moving it closer to its client group.
Toni Soni, Centre Director at Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre said: “The move to our new home has been a tough few months, but the willingness and dedication of our wonderful staff, volunteers and supporters from across Coventry and beyond have made this happen. It is fantastic to see our charity finally settled here at Norton House.”
The charity opened its doors to the general public during the afternoon which saw numerous people visit to find out more about the charity This is all part of the charity’s aim not only to help asylum seekers, refugees and migrants rebuild their lives and make positive contributions to the city, but also to promote integration and community cohesion.
Toni Soni said: “Our vision is to provide a place that not only provides important services for the vulnerable, but also to create a community space that breaks down barriers, challenges misconceptions and brings people together.”