Malvern Welcomes held its AGM and Open meeting on Thursday October 11th. We have now been a registered charity for just over a year and what a busy year it has been!
The meeting was attended by over 60 people, who enjoyed delicious homemade baklava, made by one of the refugee families.
Having been in position for the first year all the Trustees were required to resign and put themselves up for re-election. Dick Stockford, Ruth Forecast, Dan Herbert, Rosemary Thorp, John Raine and Sue Wolfendale were re-elected. David Kitcat, who has been our Chairman, stood down, due to the pressure of other commitments. David was thanked for all the hard work he has put into establishing Malvern Welcomes as a charity. He will continue to be our legal advisor. Sue Wolfendale gave the Trustees report and Dan Herbert the Treasurer’s report (posted separately).
This year we have had the pleasure of welcoming a first refugee family, who came to Malvern at the end of June. They have been helped to settle in by a brilliant team of volunteer supporters. Lyn Goswell, shared her insights and reflections on being part of this team. The family have embraced the learning of English with enthusiasm, greatly assisted by our ESOL (English for Speakers of other Languages) team, led by Sharon Baker. Sharon spoke to the meeting about the scheme and how fortunate she felt to be involved in this way.
Without offers of accommodation from private landlords it would not be possible for refugee families to come to Malvern. It was a sign of their commitment to Malvern Welcomes and its aims that that two landlords were at the meeting. One, Jan Watts is already running inspiring English conversation sessions which the refugees attend. She explained her reasons for wanting to become further involved, by offering a property for let.
Our guest speaker was Carly Whyborn from Reset, a charity that has been very recently set up by the Home Office to advise and assist organisations through the process of applying to resettle refugee families through the Community Sponsorship scheme (see Why Two Schemes?) We heard of the considerable interest in community sponsorship that is developing in UK and of its origins in Canada in 1979.
Ruth Forecast shared the aspiration of Malvern Welcomes for the coming years. These include resettling two or three more refugee families.
We thank Lansdowne Methodist Church for allowing us to use their hall.