A COVENTRY family are getting on their bikes to raise money for destitute people and refugees in the city.
Paul Marginson, Helen Newell and their 16-year-old daughter Connie are gearing up for a sponsored cycle ride in aid of the Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre’s Destitution Fund.
The Earlsdon family plans to complete 10 laps round Draycote Water in Rugby – a ride of roughly 50 miles – during the half-term holiday at the end of the month.
Having initially set themselves a target of £500, the family has been inundated with sponsorship since upped their fundraising aim to £750.
Paul said: “Like many people, when the refugee crisis seemed to be at its height, we were feeling pretty ashamed and embarrassed by our government’s response.
“We thought there must be something we could do without the government pitching in.
“We thought about taking in a refugee family, but our house isn’t suitable for that.”
The Newells want the money to go directly to refugees in need in their home city.
Paul added: “We were reassured that Coventry as a city has taken in refugees from Syria, even though it’s not a large number.
“And since we wanted to do something that was of direct and immediate help, targeting the Destitution Fund appealed to us.”
The Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre’s (CMRC) newly established fund helps the Coventry residents – including refugees and asylum seekers – who are in most need of a helping hand.
These destitute people have no money, nowhere to live and no means of getting any money.
In the last two months alone, the CRMC has dealt with over 100 cases of destitution, with numbers expected to rise following the proposed cuts in support for asylum seeking families.
The destitute may be people who have noy yet applied for asylum, or people whose asylum applications have failed which means they are not allowed to work.
And when people are granted asylum, their support often stops before they can get a job or apply for benefits.
Sabir Zazai, Director of CRMC, said staff at the centre were ‘delighted’ the Newells had offered their support to the fund, adding the family’s appeal had ‘touched a chord’ with other local residents who had since also pledged their support.
He added: “Once again it shows that Coventry is a city which opens its heart to newcomers who have gone through terrible difficulties to get here, and then often face further struggles as they build a new life.”
To donate to Paul, Helen and Connie’s sponsored bike ride, visit https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/cycle4refuges
And to find out more about helping refugees in Coventry, visit www.covrefugee.org and click on the ‘Support Us’ tab.