As the end of the first year of the MyCoventry project edges nearer, so too does its first awards evening.
Entering the festive season to the sound of applause and cheer, the awards evening is a recognition and celebration of the hard work, determination and remarkable achievements of the projects’ participants.
Hailing from all over the world, the participants arrive on the MyCoventry programme needing support with a host of integrational needs that include employment, English language skills, mental health and more.
By addressing the local, social and economic inequalities in Coventry, the MyCoventry project is a two-year initiative that supports new arrivals with the aforementioned integrational needs so that they are no longer restricted by these barriers and instead can thrive in their new lives and homes here in Coventry.
The impact of the project in conjunction with the hard work of the projects’ participants has been profound and far-reaching, with one participant going onto work for one of the UK’s most beloved and well-known organisations – the NHS.
To help celebrate the joyous occasion is a collection of distinguished guest speakers and award presenters including Deputy Leader for Coventry City Council, Councillor Abdul Salam Khan, the Lord Mayor, Councillor John McNicholas and many more.
Also speaking on the night is Cameroonian and former asylum seeker, Louis Messi. A talented Judo athlete, Messi represented his country on the international stage numerous times but fled Cameroon after receiving threats from the country’s sports ministry for refusing to take part in political activities.
With his passport and money being withheld and threats continuing to grow, Messi sought asylum in the UK in 2018 and almost 4 years on is studying an access course so he can attend university.
He has now kindly agreed to share his story at the awards evening so that he can empower others to live without fear and demonstrate that anything is possible.
Praising the success and strength of the awards recipients, Deputy Leader for Coventry City Council, Councillor Abdul Salam Khan, said: “The festive season is a time for family, friends and celebration, which is why its only right that we start the festive period celebrating the hard work, contributions and achievements of the men and women who have recently arrived.
“Despite only being here for a short period of time, they’ve all had a profound and meaningful impact of their local community, offering their time volunteering and supporting other Coventrians, to learning first aid or going onto work for some of the UK’s most progressive and loved organisations.
“It gives me great pride and joy to be able to celebrate such as wonderful occasion with each and every single one of them and I very much look forward seeing what the future holds for each of them”.
Dajana Vasilj, Project Manager on the MyCoventry project, added: “We’ve had an incredible first year on the MyCoventry project, from witnessing participants go into full-time work or education, to being a part of global peace forums and so much more; it’s incredibly heart-warming to finish off the year celebrating the remarkable achievements of the projects’ participants.
“Each of our partners on the project have worked tirelessly throughout the year to support new arrivals and it’s extremely fulfilling knowing that both the partners and participants alike are reaping the rewards of their hard work.
“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our brilliant partners, St Francis Employability, for organising and hosting what is sure to be an incredible evening celebrating”.