A team of four from Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre and the Coventry 2021, City of Culture team have helped raise £1,300 for destitute people in Coventry.
The amount was raised after the team announced plans to complete a 13 mile distance to fundraise for The Coventry Destitution Fund. It provides essential support to homeless people in the city.
Hoping to complete the Coventry Half Marathon until this was cancelled, they completed the Lichfield Half Marathon on Sunday 6 May and asked people to visit a JustGiving page they had set up to donate money on. With an initial target to raise £500 surpassed, the team were delighted by the generosity of those supporting their efforts.
Jan Malatesta, one of the runners from CRMC said: “We wanted to raise the money as we were all aware of just how vital the destitution fund was too many of the families, children, men and women we work with. Often, it could be the difference between someone having a roof over their head at night, or something to eat.
“Initially we wanted to raise £500, but we soon exceeded this and are delighted that over £1,000 was raised. It just shows what a caring and welcoming city Coventry is, and we would like to thank everyone that so kindly supported our efforts.”
The Coventry Destitution Fund was established in 2009 – with CRMC and partners – to help feed, shelter and clothe destitute asylum seekers, refugees and migrants within Coventry. This includes families and young children.
CRMC regularly works with people escaping conflict and persecution who are not allowed to work despite wanting to, while also left unable to claim benefits. Often their claim for asylum has been refused due to mistakes with paperwork, lost files or the fact that they haven’t initially provided enough evidence. While CRMC supports these people to appeal this decision – which is often overturned – The Coventry Destitution Fund provides the vital lifeline helping them to survive. In addition, when people are granted asylum in the UK, the support they get often stops before they have the opportunity to get a job, due to delays with receiving paperwork.
Toni Soni, Centre Director at CRMC said: “We are extremely thankful for the kindness of many friends and strangers across the city and beyond who have donated this money.
“We unfortunately see the consequences on a daily basis of a system which disempowers and often forces those escaping conflict into poverty. While our staff work tirelessly to help these people rebuild their lives with dignity, this fund provides a vital lifeline of food, shelter, clothing and other essential items.”
Money donated is given in full directly to those in need, and the Bishop of Coventry is The Coventry Destitution Funds patron.