THE Bishop of Coventry and local business leaders are joining forces to save a vital lifeline.
A unique art therapy scheme run by the Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre, which helps newcomers to the city suffering from mental health problems, has proved a victim of its own success.
With demand for the scheme rocketing, the charity has launched a major city-wide fundraising drive to keep afloat and is hoping the backing from the Bishop of Coventry and business leaders at the city’s Chamber of Commerce will help attract donations.
Speaking about the scheme, the charity’s director, Sabir Zazai, said: “It’s really mushrooming.
“But to run it we need a professionally qualified clinical manager and an administrator, which is about £1,500 a month.
“If we could raise £15,000, that would keep us going.
“I don’t think there’s another scheme like this.
“Physical needs are obvious, and mental health problems are often overlooked – but wellness must come first.
“We developed this because we were under pressure from the demand and if we had to give it up now, it would be a great loss.”
The art therapy scheme helps new refugees and migrants to Coventry deal with severe psychological scars caused by terrible and traumatic experiences.
Many of the Bishop Street centre’s visitors have been forced to leave loved ones behind to escape violent conflicts in their home countries – some having seen family members jailed or killed.
The art therapy runs alongside conventional therapy, helping people who struggle with depression and anxiety to put their feelings, experiences and fears into words.
The Bishop of Coventry, the Rt Rev Christopher Cocksworth, said Coventry’s past suffering had opened its gates to open to people seeking refuge from violence and brutality.
He added: “This service brings healing to the deep scars of tragedy and trauma that those who come to our city for sanctuary bear in the hidden places of their hearts and minds.
“It’s a service that commands our pride and deserves our support.”
A spokesperson from the Coventry Chamber of Commerce also backed the campaign – urging businesses to show their commitment to local charities by getting involved in the Centre’s fundraising drive.
Earlier this year, Centre director Sabir Zazai put himself through his paces by running the Coventry half-marathon – raising over £3,000 to help with the costs of running the art therapy scheme.
Details of how to help and donate to the scheme can be found on the Centre’s website at please go to the charity’s websitw at www.covrefugee.org