Many attended the large venue and from that meeting people signed up to either be a part of our first steering group or offer their practical help further down the line.
Simultaneously and unbeknown to me at that time, Macclesfield and Alsager were doing something similar as well as having silent protests outside Cheshire East Council (CEC) cabinet meetings to move them to action.
We joined forces and set about building up a portfolio of knowledge through meetings, workshops, liaising with other local authorities who had already welcomed refugees into their towns and cities and some of us attended the following year, a Citizens UK Welcome Summit in Birmingham.
Up to this point, CEC had informed the Home Office of their willingness to be a part of the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme, but at each new cabinet meeting the subject was either ‘postponed’ until the next meeting or it was suitably side-tracked.
Yes, we were frustrated but we all believed we could succeed and we were not going to give up. 12 months after those shocking television images, CEC finally put us on a Cabinet Meeting agenda. As a team, we had put in the many levels of legwork needed to ensure that CEC would not be able to ‘put off’ a positive decision because they saw that there was much more to be done and to be considered.
Both Helen and I spoke to CEC and they were speechless! There were no objections and only praise for our team’s dedication to what we had already put in place and was ready to action.
Helen and I said with one voice to CEC, ‘Yes We Care’.
And we do care.