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£5K grant from Ipswich Borough Council

Ipswich Town of Sanctuary has received a grant from Ipswich Borough Council for just under £5K to continue to offer English tuition for speakers of other languages at the “It’s Tuesday” class held at St John’s United Reformed Church. The grant will be spent on marketing materials, electronic tablets, improved Wi-Fi connection and remuneration for two specialist teaching staff. The grant will cover the running costs for two years.

Ipswich Town of Sanctuary provide support and assistance to asylum seekers and refugees within Ipswich and they actively seek partnerships with local organisations and community stakeholders to work towards making Ipswich a welcoming and inclusive “Town of Sanctuary”. The vision of “It’s Tuesday”, as part of the movement of Ipswich Town of Sanctuary, is to offer English classes to all those who come to live here but who are not fluent English speakers so the ripple effect of helping people goes beyond giving support to Asylum Seekers and Refugees. The service supports migrants and people that have been here for many generations in Ipswich and need a little more support with their conversational and written English.

Classes involve listening, speaking, reading and writing in English. Students also have the opportunity to learn about life in the UK and share experiences with people from other cultures. The aim of the project is to teach English in an informal manner, focusing on conversational topics which meet the needs of students, whilst encouraging integration into local community life.

The project aims to run 10 sessions per term – 30 per year, each of an hour and a half. The classes are taught by experienced teachers with training and experience in both English as a Foreign Language and early year’s education. Between 5 and 10 students currently attend each week. With funding, the group will be able to provide tuition for up to 15 students.

Most students arrive understanding some English and they often have degrees or highly developed skills, yet lack the confidence to give voice to their thoughts. With more sophisticated oral English, migrants, asylum seekers and refugees will have greater potential for employment and progression to rewarding occupations which reflect their true level of skill and education; thus benefitting local economic development and services.

The group attracts diverse nationalities; Polish, Ukrainian, Romanian, Turkish, Greek, Bengali, Iranian, Spanish, Brazilian, Portuguese, Afghanistani, Eritrean and Sri Lankan. It addresses particular needs for parents who are either at home with small children or in low paid or part-time occupations and therefore cannot afford expensive classes.

Parents are welcome to bring along their young children and through sharing stories and playing with toddlers in the group, parents are encouraged to read in English and develop their children’s experience of language and culture.

Through the English class, students gain friendships and local connections. Over tea and biscuits, volunteers work with parents and toddlers and provide a listening ear to those who need reassurance with regard to other issues such as parenting, accessing support and services or readjusting to life in the UK. Sharing experiences with others far from home is a comfort to many lonely migrants, asylum seekers and refugees and having access to trained native speakers and an informal space in which they can experiment with the language of their new home is a unique opportunity. For these reasons, for many people, conversation is more important than passing a language examination.

To book, please call Melissa Day on: 07861 758739