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A new Guide to teaching English at Home

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2020-10-14T21:46:02+01:0014th October, 2020|Categories: English at Home, Headline posts, Resouces, Volunteering|

Since the Pandemic  - and the importance of keeping socially distant - we've been trying to get as many of our resources as we can online. You may have seen the huge library of ESOL resources English at Home have produced for teachers and learners of English (we can never thank our volunteers Julie and Clive enough for this.) We've also been busy trying to support our (learners) and volunteer tutors to get online, embrace Zoom, and learn how to unmute and share screens. It's not been easy. A lot of trial and error, and a lot of frustration - but we're getting there, we think. Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, we now have a small stack of laptops and smartphones we can loan or give away to folks who need them., and we can provide a modest amount of wireless broadband each month to people without. We've tried to capture some of our learning in this new resource - designed for new English at Home Volunteers - but we think - useful to anyone trying to teach English online right now. Have a look and see what you make of it. If you think it's any good, please use it, or forward it on to someone you know. As ever, we're proud to share what we have with anyone who might find it useful. David is responsible for this excellent piece of work btw (although he's far too modest to say so himself.)

Refugee Week 2020 Day 2: English at Home

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2020-06-15T19:49:54+01:0016th June, 2020|Categories: English at Home, Headline posts|

We're using Refugee Week as a way to explain how the work of LASSN has changed during Lockdown. Each day we're offering examples of how we've adapted what we do, to make sure asylum seekers and refugees and other migrants at risk of harm remain supported, empowered, and integrated. So what's changed? Three months ago, LASSN's English at Home project was the only way asylum seekers and refugees in Leeds could learn English at home. And of course, since lockdown, every ESOL class is held at home, which is kind of brilliant, but also comes with its own challenges. Sadly, we've had to put new referrals on hold for the time being, as well as suspending volunteer recruitment. We're doing this until we can work out the best way of assessing the level of English of people being referred, and checking out the skills of new volunteers - without being able to meet them face to face We're still managing to re-match learners with existing volunteers, and deploy some of the unmatched English at Home volunteers into new roles (as telephone befrienders), We've also been providing weekly skill-share drop-ins to help volunteers make the difficult transition from providing face-to-face learning and support to online learning. And, in addition to all of this, Riley has had to be furloughed (working from home isn't do-able whilst the schools are closed). Which basically means David has been holding the fort. Online learning resources, free for everyone We started lockdown by trying to support our English at Home matches to explore new ways of learning, and issuing new guidance to our volunteers on how to teach in socially distant ways. We also knew that without our help, many of the people we knew would not be able to afford to stay in touch with the person they were matched with  - so a key part of our strategy was to issue phone credit to all clients and volunteers who needed it. Since then. we've also been able to supply mobile phones, and laptops, and wifi dongles using our Digital Inclusion scheme with the support of our friends at Solidaritech. We've told you before about the hundreds of free teaching resources we've created posted online (https://lassn.org.uk/teaching-resources/) thanks to the diligence and hard work of Clive and Julie our online librarians. And since lockdown, we've added a whole new range of resources for Tutors and Learners who are not used to learning/teaching online - and which are designed to build confidence and to involve the whole family.  Our friend Daniela Prataviera created a half-hour webinar on Using online communication with low-level learners and we've either found or made accessible information about how to use Zoom David writes: Head to the Ideas and Activities section for numerous suggestions that can be used straight away with your learner. They can all be easily adapted to suit any level of learner, and can be used as a starter or whole lesson. Amy, one of our wonderful volunteers, has created Read Along [...]

Playing Games for ESOL

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2018-11-09T13:49:52+00:0013th July, 2017|Categories: English at Home, Resouces, Resources, Volunteering|Tags: , |

David and Riley - our Volunteers Managers at English at Home  - have put together an excellent resource, explaining how you might use board games to help someone learn English. So far we've found 7 excellent examples, from Banagrams to Who Am I? but we are sure there are more - so we'd love to know if you have any more suggestions  - drop us a line with your favourites, and we'll add them to the list .  Click on the graphic below to see what's beein included so far... 


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2017-03-18T07:09:53+00:0018th March, 2017|Categories: Asylum, Befriending, Destitution, English at Home, Grace Hosting, Hosting, Resouces, Resources|Tags: , , , |

Many people contact LASSN to ask how we've set up English at Home or Grace Hosting or Befriending. In response to this demand for info, we've put together a page with various documents and links to help other people who are thinking about doing something similar. Click here for more information We're proud to share what we've done, and to explain why we do things in a particular way. All we ask is that if you use anything of ours, you credit us, and share with other people too.

We’re recruiting volunteer English Tutors again (at last)

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2018-11-09T13:47:58+00:0010th February, 2017|Categories: English at Home, Projects, Training, Volunteering|Tags: , , |

After almost 9 months, we're finally in a position to recruit new volunteers to our English at Home project. In exchange for a commitment of 6 months , we offer full training and support to enable you to share the gift of communication with someone who can't access mainstream ESOL classes. It's a challenge, but it's also a lot of fun, and equips people with an invaluable tool that will help them to take control of their situation, and to contribute to life in their new City. If you want to find out more, please visit our Volunteer page for more info, and to complete an application form

Friends of LASSN, January 2017

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2018-11-09T13:47:04+00:0010th February, 2017|Categories: Befriending, English at Home, Grace Hosting, Headline posts, Volunteering|

Here's a link to our online newsletter, Friends of LASSN which we publish every few months. Contents include Entering 2017 with a spring in our step A film about Grace Hosting Welcome to Iona Lyons, our new Befriending Volunteers Manager Tongue Twister LASSN's AGM  - Save the Date Positive images of Asylum Leeds Beckett University and Charity Bank donate PCs Donate to LASSN LASSN online

Safeguarding at LASSN

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2019-05-20T10:01:12+01:006th November, 2016|Categories: Befriending, English at Home, Grace Hosting, Projects, Training, Volunteering|Tags: |

LASSN has made some changes to the way we help everyone to remain safe and well when working with us. Volunteering is a key part of how we reduce the risks in people's lives, by increasing their connections, building confidence, and giving them choices. We're keen to support our volunteers' efforts with clear guidance and processes which support your work. Over the last year, we've reviewed our existing policies to ensure they are up to date, and in line with best practice.  We're not making these changes in response to any serious safeguarding concerns or incidents, but because we regularly review the way we work to ensure we're doing the very best we can. Here's a summary of these changes Staying Safe Project Summaries Each Volunteer Manager has produced a summary for the Project they manage, (Befriending, English at Home, Grace Hosting) saying how they will keep people safe, and put our policies into practice. Updated Safeguarding Adults and Safeguarding Children Policies Each of these Policies has been rewritten in light of legal changes, and changes to local guidance - but the basic advice remains the same: everyone should be aware of the possibility of abuse, and if you suspect something, always discuss this with someone at LASSN who will help to work out what should happen next All staff and volunteers will have these explained during their induction and training, and we'll offer ongoing training for all staff and volunteers. Revised procedures for recruiting Volunteers We'll be taking a more consistent approach to the questions we ask when interviewing prospective volunteers, and the way in which we take up references. We'll also complete Basic Disclosures for all staff and volunteers - including Grace Hosts and Coordinators -  and update these every 2 years, on a rolling programme. A detailed explanation of why we are moving from DBS checks to Basic Disclosures can be found on the Basic Disclosures Info Sheet. Basic disclosures will only show details of unspent offences. Volunteer Social Media Guidelines These have been produced in response to requests from volunteers for guidance in this area. They're intended to be simple, straightforward, and easy to follow. A Volunteer Problem Solving Procedure We've produced a clear process of how we'll try and resolve difficulties which may arise in the course of your volunteering with LASSN. We've not had one of these before, and although it's what you'd probably expect, it felt important to write this down. Staff and trustees are pleased to have adopted these policies, which will help to keep LASSN a safe place to volunteer, and provide the people we support with reassurance of our shared commitment to their welfare and security.  We'll ensure that our training for volunteers covers all relevant aspects of these policies, and we'll be happy to explain or talk things through further if things are not clear. All of the documents referred to on this page can be found in the Volunteer Information Pack.

English at Home receives £370k Lottery Windfall

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2018-11-09T13:45:16+00:0016th August, 2016|Categories: English at Home, Headline posts, Vacancies|Tags: , |

We've just been told that we are to received more than 370k of Lottery funds to provide one to one English lessons to asylum seekers and refugees in Leeds who can’t access ESOL classes. Last year our English at Home programme enabled 140 people to learn English who couldn’t go to mainstream English classes because they had young children or disabilities. The 113 volunteer tutors provided 1,655 hours of one to one teaching. This grant will safeguard the service for the next 5 years, as well as increasing the number of lessons by 75%. "We’re really chuffed that the Lottery see the need for such a project in Leeds" said Jon Beech, Director of LASSN. “Cuts to mainstream English classes make it harder than ever to get a place, especially if you’ve got kids or a disability, or the classes are two bus rides away. 80% of the people we teach are women with children. The ability to write and speak English gives people confidence and enables them to take control of their lives, and to give something back. Saying hello to your neighbour, helping your child to read, or being able to understand your post – it sounds like a little thing – but it can be life changing. An hour a week spent learning English with one of our trained volunteers helps people make a home, helps people settle, and helps people to integrate.” LASSN will be recruiting two new Volunteers Managers immediately to meet the demand for lessons. “It’s such a shame” said Jon Beech “We have 5 or 6 people approach us each week, asking if they can volunteer to help someone learn English, and we have 5 or 6 people asking to learn English each week. For the last 2 months we’ve been turning volunteers away, because we don’t have the staff to train or support them. This funding is brilliant, because we can start saying yes again.” The two Volunteers Managers created by this funding posts have just been advertised, and details can be found here.

The difference LASSN made in 2015/16

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2018-11-09T13:54:06+00:0015th June, 2016|Categories: Befriending, English at Home, Grace Hosting, Headline posts, Projects|Tags: , , |

We've updated all the pages describing the difference we make through our various projects Befriending We matched 51 volunteers with 54 asylum seekers and refugees. Most referrals for befriending come from health and children’s services, who recognise the significant impact that loneliness can have on both physical and mental health. Volunteers provide support for about 9 months, although some matches can continue for several years. Volunteers also provide practical support to the people they are matched with: helping people to access health and social care services, to make stronger connections with community organisations and to make friends. Befriending underwent a full evaluation during this period and can be downloaded here. We secured 3 years National Lottery Funding to sustain and grow the project English at Home In 2015/16 we offered tailored English lessons to 140 people from 15 different countries, who would otherwise be excluded from learning English. We increased the number of volunteer tutors to 113, who in turn provided almost 1,655 hours of teaching. Our 6 month reviews with learners found that in all cases there had been an increase in the level of confidence, with nearly all clients reporting that they now used English much more outside the home. By building people’s confidence, we have supported 11 people to successfully take up college courses and 15 to move on to weekly classes outside the home. We've published all our learning materials online so that anyone can use them, and we also keep a list of online resources that other people have produced. In addition, you can download a full Evaluation of English at Home 2013 - 16 Grace Hosting In 2015/16  84 guests spent a total of 1289 nights staying in emergency accommodation – about the same number of guests as the previous year, with people staying on average 15 nights - a week longer than people did in 2014/15. The number of people staying in longer stay accommodation halved to 6 (from 12) and Guests stayed a total of 1587 nights. The average length of stay increased slightly from 40 weeks to 45. Between September and December 2015 we recruited and trained 27 new hosting households - making a total of 49 places that people can stay. Overall, in 2015/16, Grace Hosts provided more than 2876 nights of accommodation: more than 410 weeks, or the equivalent of almost 8 years. Information and Awareness We lobby Government and submit evidence to help improve the situation of refugee and asylum seekers We appear in the local and national media, commenting on issues, and trying to make sure voices of experience are part of the discussion We give talks and host discussions of asylum and migration issues, at community groups, places of worship and in schools and colleges - here's the presentation on Migrant Families Under Pressure that we we did for social care students at Leeds Trinity in March 2016  We collaborate with Journalism and Media students, to help broaden their understanding of the issues, and challenge misconceptions - here's the [...]