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.