It’s been a hectic few weeks and months for Refugees Welcome Milton Keynes!
The inspirational Carmel Schmid, who set up the local campaign as part of the Citizens:MK campaign last November has stood down from being chair due to time pressures, handing over to myself. Gulp! That means 200 volunteers to be thought about, two Syrian refugee families already in the city (12 people), British Red Cross and the Milton Keynes Council driving forward our welcome. And our Core Group is burning with enthusiasm.
In the past couple of weeks alone, here’s a taste of what’s our Core Group has been up to (and I have shortened the full list):
Marie Gracie has set up and is co-ordinating volunteer furnishings, with local Fire stations providing temporary accommodation whilst items are stored ready to go to refugees’ houses (more families are due in the Autumn and we must be ready). Nikki Bone and Tim Norwood with Marie are acting as ‘house furnishing leaders’. John Cornwall (Freeman of Buckingham and extraordinary Amnesty activist) has arranged for his church to be responsible for furnishing an entire house for the next family to arrive.
Marc Eisenstadt with Alex Mepham have sent out excellent MailChimp newsletters to all our supporters and all 100 local schools telling them what we’re up to – with the result that we now have more schools to talk to and more supporters offering help ranging from language teaching to prayers
Arif Master at the Zainabiya Islamic Centre (KSI Muslim Community of Milton Keynes) and his secretariat have invited our Core Group and the Syrian refugee families to Iftar tomorrow night.
The highly skilled and dedicated team at British Red Cross, led by Kerri Chana, have been providing welfare and support for the two families, making sure that as quickly as possible they’re becoming part of our exciting new city.
Jeremy Beake at MK Council is making sure that the officers and members (all parties) are fully on board with welcoming an increasing number of refugees.
Mike Kasibo made sure the families went to watch an MK Dons football match.
Brian Stocker went on our behalf to the MK Council Integration meeting.
Nour Sakr and Carmel Schmid are organising a supporters’ social event.
Tim Norwood is setting up a JustGiving site for cash donations.
Tom Bulman from Citizens:mk makes sure we continue to deliver on our commitments to Citizens’ member organisations.
And I’m getting breathless just with writing this down.
THANKS everyone! You’re great.
David Wolfson, Interim Chair, Refugees Welcome Milton Keynes
16 June 2016