Community News From Around Our Area

Coventry Businessman Awarded MBE for Philanthropic Work in City

A Coventry businessman has been recognized in HRH The Queen’s New Year’s Honours List for his philanthropic work in the city of Coventry, helping disadvantaged youth.

John Kiely MBE runs six successful McDonalds franchises across the city of Coventry and has been instrumental in supporting Coventry’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021. His advocacy is cited as critical in securing the title. And what an amazing way to kick off this historic year than with an MBE!

The New Year’s Honours List is a tradition dating back to at least 1890 and recognizes the achievements and services of extraordinary individuals across the UK, from all walks of life. The title of MBE stands for Member of the Order of the British Empire. The honours are presented by or in the name of the Queen. However, in line with the monarch’s other duties, she acts on the advice of her ministers, who present her with a list of nominees each year for her approval. These nominations can be made by anyone in the UK and it is thought that John was nominated from a number of individuals and organisations for both his business and charity work across the county.

John’s work in the community, supporting such a depth and breadth of community organisations has made a significant impact across Coventry, Warwickshire and the West Midlands. His work ethos is outstanding, he has actively improved lives and brought about change in the region, whilst strengthening the third sector (the not-for-profit sector). He has given residents in Coventry opportunities to secure employment, which would not have been possible without his will and expertise, and he has enabled people on the margins of society to grasp opportunities that they would not have had before.

John, of Warwickshire, has worked with Positive Youth Foundation, YMCA Coventry and Warwickshire, and Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre to ensure that their clients, who may have no experience or basic English skills, are given the opportunity to secure a job and contribute to society. However, if they are not ready, he will go the extra mile to mentor and advise on how they can improve their employability skills through leading on training days and talking at sessions. Within a year, 15 of Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre’s service users secured a job within his franchises. The work he does results in raising the aspirations of individuals, for whom at the time securing a job would seem unachievable, and therefore has a positive impact on the region’s employability pool.

When asked what this MBE will mean for the work he does in the community, John Kiely MBE, commented, “It will aid more good work; I am enormously proud of the work we do in the community and the charities and good causes we work with and I am hoping that this award shines a spotlight on their great work also. It is a privilege to support them and I hope we can do even more in the years ahead.”

When asked what this means to him personally, John added, “I am extremely proud that my peers in Coventry felt that I deserved such an honour as an MBE. Coventry is a city in size but a community in spirit and there are so many people and organisations that come together to make lives better for all. I am delighted to have won the award and I know it is testimony to the fantastic work that all of my colleagues do.”

Trish Willetts, Director at Coventry BID, was one of the nominees for John Kiely and commented, “John is a committed Business Ambassador for Coventry and has helped shine a light on our great city. He has actively supported all youth provisions, engagement and lots of local charities with financial support and mentoring for young people with housing issues, life skills, training and now employs over 700 local people.

“John regularly organises community clean ups in the city centre, paying his staff to volunteer on projects that are taking place. His door is always open, and he is a pillar of the business community.  New businesses coming to the city centre go to John for advice and he is always willing to share his ideas and thoughts.

“I am delighted to hear this fantastic news for John. Talk to anyone in the city and they will all reiterate my joy. To hear this honor being bestowed on John is a real testament to his incredible warmth, community commitment and business acumen.”