Housing represents one of the most common reasons for migrants and refugees seeking support, but poor quality housing is also a problem faced by the wider community, in particular by vulnerable older people and young people leaving care.
To address this issue, MiFriendly Cities is investing in the launch of two Pop-up Furniture Factories in Wolverhampton and Coventry. The factories will host activities aimed at community-led integration as well as addressing this housing issue, and will also serve as a long-term investment as part of the sustainability of the project.
Migrants and non-migrants can join accredited vocational skills courses in carpentry, painting and decorating, or DIY skills, and can later use these skills to upcycle furniture to makeover homes across the West Midlands for those in need.
Whilst open to all, the courses have been tailored to cater to those with additional language needs. Conversations with supporting staff, volunteers and tutors helps to improve participants confidence in speaking English in a practical environment. Participants are also taught what the appropriate tools are called in English to help prepare them for employment in the UK or for volunteer opportunities in the community.
The Coventry Factory has now been launched in a space provided by the Coventry University Centre for Trust Peace and Reconciliation – one of the 11 project partners – and is now trialling the first of its accredited skills courses.
Kevin Taylor, the Coventry Factory Skills Trainer, said: ‘’All of the participants of our first decorating course have had experience of painting and decorating in their home country, however these qualifications are not recognised in the UK. Attending this course provides them with a recognised qualification, and we also work on trade-specific language to better prepare them for employment in the UK industry.’’
Mustafa Touran, a skilled migrant who having completed the course now holds a relevant UK qualification, said: “I am feeling happy of this course, and I also benefited because of the information. Thank you Kevin Taylor“.
As course numbers increase following the initial pilot courses, the project will be reaching out for skilled volunteers to join the initiative, offering their own expertise and contributing to the social inclusion and informal language learning element.Back to news posts
This project is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund through the Urban Innovative Actions Initiative.