Refugees Welcome Milton Keynes (RWMK) began in 2015 as a Citizens:mk campaign. It was driven by people who wanted to make a difference at a time of crisis. A couple of years later, we turned Refugees Welcome Milton Keynes into a charity, so we could manage the money that was being given to help resettle Syrian refugees.
We are proud to have been part of the generous and compassionate response that has happened in our area. Five years into this journey, we note that many new groups are now working with Refugees and Asylum seekers in Milton Keynes, including Building Bridges, Sanctuary Hosting, Refugee Welcome Schools, and Community Sponsorship groups such as Refugees Welcome Wolverton.
We have also been listening to the voices of Refugees and Asylum Seekers, who have told us about the problems they face now, including digital poverty and access to services.
We have come to the conclusion that we no longer need Refugees Welcome Milton Keynes as a charity, and we want to focus more attention on the experiences and needs of all refugees and asylum seekers in Milton Keynes. We therefore aim to wind the existing charity down, so that RWMK can become a Citizens:mk campaign again. This will enable us to be more flexible, more inclusive and more focused. Dissolving the charity does not mean that the issue has gone away. Quite the opposite! We celebrate the fact that a pillar has been installed at the MK Rose (see story and video in the Newsletter version of this message), and we are encouraged by the new initiatives that have emerged this year – even during the Lockdown. We will be back at the Rose next year to see what progress has been made – and to remind people in our city that Welcome should always be at the heart of our community. As it says on the pillar: ‘People from around the world have helped build this city – Milton Keynes welcomes refugees.’ We hope these words will be written on our hearts, not just on stone.
Work with refugees and asylum seekers will continue in Milton Keynes. If you want to donate money, volunteer or get involved, please see the section on links to our partners and sites where you can continue to help. A final section in the Newsletter version of this message describes our ‘winding down timetable’ and contact details.
We would like to thank our many supporters for your enthusiasm and commitment over the past five years. You have made amazing things happen, as you can see in the section below ‘Celebrating our successes’.
All best wishes, and many thanks again.
Tim Norwood, Chair, on behalf of the Trustees of RWMK