A unique, multi-sectoral project brings together migrants, employers, citizens, and other services, to establish strong communities, build businesses, improve people’s lives, and foster integration.
BUILDING STRONGER COMMUNITIES
MiFriendly Cities is a unique migration initiative that not only sets out a programme of activities for migrants, but also engages employers, the health service, and the wider public to build healthier communities. It does so by unlocking cities' wide-ranging assets, coming together to drive change at both city and regional levels, and testing a mix of innovative and sustainable approaches to integration.
WHAT CONSTITUTES A MIGRATION FRIENDLY CITY?
The programme benefits wider communities in Coventry, Birmingham, and Wolverhampton. It was co-created with migrants and collects feedback from participants, residents, and employers feeding into a collective vision of integration, delivered by 11 partners with 31 activities in three cities. MiFriendly Cities established two Eco Furniture Factories (in Coventry and Wolverhampton). These facilities represent new approaches to changing negative perceptions of migrants by showcasing their talents and community contribution in a novel way.
Older skilled volunteers work together with migrants on community projects to exchange skills, using local waste materials to up-cycle 1,000+ pieces of furniture, to support 100 home and community makeovers, make artefacts for City of Culture 2021-22, and overcome integration challenges. Open to anyone, they build trust and encourage sustainable behaviours through migrant-led repair cafes, social enterprises, and UK-recognised qualifications. Overall, the innovative partnership of public, private, and voluntary sector organisations within MiFriendly Cities provides a unique network of skills and knowledge to improve the understanding of what constitutes a welcoming or 'migration friendly' city.
COMMUNITY SPACES FOR COMMON INTERESTS
The investment in two welcoming community spaces, built and co-created by over 3,000 people and organisations, motivates different parts of society to participate. These facilities were co-designed to respond to needs and interests common to everyone; specifically education, skills, employment, climate change, fun, creativity, and social interaction. The UK Home Office recognises the innovative project, which builds connections between communities to improve people’s lives and foster integration. The project will help thousands of individuals gain qualifications, improve hundreds of homes and community settings, give a second or third life to thousands of items of broken furniture, reduce waste, and will also establish new social- and eco-businesses.
Coventry has a long and proud history of opening its arms and welcoming people who choose to make the City their home. MiFriendly Cities recognises that refugees and migrants bring with them a diverse range of skills, qualifications and professional experience bringing enormous value to our region, our economy and our society. The project’s actions are driven by the participants as much as possible which enables us to bring together a wide range of organisations and individuals aimed at addressing identified challenges and building solidarity between communities. From the grassroots upwards, we see citizens across the community working with local businesses, government, and voluntary organisations to build a Migration Friendly region together. The project offers a real opportunity not just for cities in the region, but in other European cities to learn from each other, to realise the innovativeness, creativity and skills of their migrant citizens.