Report on Open evening
Malvern charity aims to bring refugee families to Malvern.
We had a wonderful Open Evening at the Cube on 9th November, with about 40 people celebrating the new charity, Malvern Welcomes.
Cllr John Raine gave us an inspiring talk, filmed in Priory Park, welcoming the birth of the Charity and looking forward to refugee families settling in Malvern. He spoke passionately about this being one of his most important achievements as a County Councillor, and told us that initial discussions with the Home Office and local councils are supportive. He wished everyone involved much success.
Dick Stockford told the meeting about Full Community Sponsorship and confirmed that the group is applying for this to the Home Office – he stressed there is a long hard road ahead, and it was good to feel the support in the room for this. We are determined that this will allow a family to find safety and security in our town.
Peter Bevan talked about his work with asylum seekers and his hopes for a richer, more diverse Malvern as a consequence of welcoming refugees.
A moving interview with a Syrian refugee from another part of the county confirmed the need for communities to provide refuge and support for people who have fled war. She spoke of her own experiences of losing a brother, and of moving to this country with three children and no English. She has worked hard, and her English is now remarkable given the short time she has been here. It was great to see her young son with her, and he demonstrated his fluency in the language with the occasional heckle! She and her family have really valued the support they have had from the community.
Reviewing the work of the last two years, the Charity has much to celebrate. Activities included hosting social events with refugee families; a newsletter was launched in April and awareness-raising in schools is vital to the work. The charities, Malvern Welcomes and People in Motion ran a series of events during Refugee Week in June.
Malvern Open Homes, provides short-term respite for destitute asylum seekers. One woman has had a successful stay with a host family in Malvern and more hosts are needed.
A main aim of Malvern Welcomes is to bring refugees to the area. Ruth Forecast, Chair, said “We have been delighted that Worcestershire has welcomed refugees but so far none in Malvern. We are determined to put this right!” and spoke about the application for Home Office Full Community Sponsorship for a family. This scheme works well elsewhere, and people are urged to be generous and make the family welcome.
It was heart-warming to see so many people ready and willing to welcome a family into our community. The meeting concluded traditionally with tea and cakes provided by volunteers – if support could be measured by the number of cakes we are sure to be successful!