We offer 8 English sessions, taught by qualified teachers, every week. Classes are offered at two levels: ESOL A for clients with little, or no English, and ESOL B, for clients who are more advanced. Our volunteers ensure that clients can get 1:1 support, and English is spoken throughout the Centre to support language learning.
“Before I started coming here, I could not speak English. Before I could not speak on the bus and people laughed at me because of my broken English. It was difficult to explain my pain to the doctor. Now I’m so happy and confident because I can communicate with people.”
English language acquisition is key to enabling asylum seekers, refugees, and migrants to fully integrate. Without English, our clients find it hard to communicate. Important information about, for example, asylum decisions, may go unread. Employment, education, and training, are out of reach to those without sufficient English.
“Attending the English class has helped me improve my English so that I no longer need an interpreter. Now I can do everything for myself, for example communicating with my solicitor.”
Poor English skills mean that clients can find it very difficult to begin to build the social networks and support they need to rebuild their lives in the UK; isolation in turn impacts upon fragile mental health.
There is a severe shortage of English classes, particularly for destitute asylum seekers, who are not able to access the limited free provision, and who cannot afford any fees. Due to our clients’ additional needs, the provision of English language classes in the context of a holistic service that provides advocacy, emotional support, and practical support such as food and clothing, is key to enabling them to engage with classes.
At our last evaluation, 100% of clients reported that they felt their English skills have improved.
We offer a range of activities to enable clients to meaningfully use their developing English language skills in a number of different contexts, such as in a gardening or arts setting, through our community partnerships, our arts projects, and our social events.