A Coventry University social enterprise employing refugees confirms plans to expand into Midlands after it's first year

Business news / Alumni news

Friday 27 April 2018

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A Coventry University social enterprise that helps refugees into work in the city has completed its first year in business with ambitious plans to expand into the Midlands.

Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre (CRMC) launched Spring Action in April 2017 with help from Coventry University Social Enterprise to offer a cleaning service and provide employment for migrants struggling to find work.

The social enterprise now employs nine cleaners from countries including Toga, Eritrea, Somalia and the Ivory Coast who complete 300 hours of work every month for 12 companies across the city. At the same time they are able to earn a living, learn about life in the UK and improve their English.

The business is proving so successful that it already has expansion plans in hope of helping more people settle in the Midlands.

Jan Maletesta

Jan Maletesta, service developer at Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre, said:

Social enterprises like Spring Action are giving more people opportunities to work, and showing what migrants and refugees can bring to the city.

Coventry has taken in many migrants and refugees and has always accepted people from different backgrounds and countries but what’s missing are employment and education opportunities to move people forward.

We see so many people each week getting nowhere with work. Quite often their English wasn’t good enough or employers wouldn’t take a chance on a refugee or migrant.

It’s about integration and educating not just our clients about employment in this country, but also people of our own nationality. We need to tear away the stereotype that refugees come to live here and can’t get jobs.

Spring Action set up in April 2017 after winning a bid for cash and coaching from Coventry University Social Enterprise. Cleaners are paid the living wage at £8.45 an hour, rather than the national minimum wage of £7.83.

They are already looking at taking on more clients in the Coventry and Warwickshire area, with hopes of getting a van to take on more workers and travel further afield for work.

We are pleased with the progress made so far, we have provided work for around 15 people and the feedback has been overwhelmingly good.

We never lose sight of the fact that although the main point is to help refugees get back on their feet, we must also provide a good service and the price is competitive, and we arrive on time – all the basics of running a business.

There must be a hundred cleaning businesses in Coventry. Why not choose one that provides a good service, and does some good as well.

Michael Gabriel, Business Co-ordinator at Spring Action