Published Monday, 12 October 2020
The Council’s Peter Barnett has been awarded a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
Peter, Lead Officer, Refugee Resettlement, has been honoured for Services to Refugees in Coventry.
The Queen’s Birthday Honours List rewards and highlights good works by citizens of Commonwealth countries.
The Birthday Honours are normally awarded as part of the Queen’s Official Birthday celebrations during June. However, this year they were delayed until 10 October because of COVID-19.
Peter has been a key figure over recent years in making sure the city is able to welcome refugees and asylum seekers and give them the services they need as they struggle to build new lives.
He became involved in the work in 2014, when Coventry became one of the first authorities to respond to the Syrian refugee crisis in the Middle East. To date, the city has resettled more than 700 refugees.
In 2016, the city also joined the Vulnerable Children’s Resettlement Scheme, which focuses on the resettlement of vulnerable children and their immediate families from the Middle East and North Africa.
Peter has also helped the city bring in the MiFriendly Cities and Building Bridges projects, which celebrate the contribution refugees can make to their new home city, allow them to develop their skills, and build links with others.
Peter said: “It is a great honour to receive the award, and it really did come as a shock.
“Coventry has a long-standing reputation as a welcoming city, and as a city of sanctuary, and it has been a real pleasure to be involved in that work in recent years and see the effect it has, not just on those we welcome, but on the city and those who live here.
“The whole team at the Council, along with partners across the city, makes such a difference to so many lives. The people who come here have faced great hardship and often personal loss, and we do our best to help them pick up the pieces and build a new life in a new country.
“I couldn’t think of a better job, and to receive this award is not just a personal honour, but also an honour for the city and all who work so hard to help refugees and asylum seekers.”
Cllr George Duggins, Leader of the City Council, said: “Peter’s honour is well-deserved.
“He has played a major role in helping hundreds of people build new lives in our city, and in helping those here see how refugees and asylum seekers can bring their skills and culture to enrich our city.
“Coventry is very proud of its reputation as a friendly, welcoming city of peace and friendship, and that would not be possible without people like Peter.”
Peter has worked at the Council since 2003, having previously worked for Middlesbrough Council and North Yorkshire County Council.
He has led Coventry’s Library and Information Service since 2014, and has also worked as manager of the Health Development Service which focused on lifestyle and behavioural change and combatting long term health inequalities.
To find out more about MiFriendly Cities and Building Bridges, visit the Council website.