Creative English classes
21 May 2019 IN: Parish News
The Ascension in Lower Broughton provides English classes for refugees and migrant workers that have boosted their confidence and helped them integrate into the community. The project, which uses role play, games and drama to enable people to practise conversational English, has won a Church for a Different World award from Bishop David.
The church had noticed that the makeup of the parish had changed over the years, becoming more ethnically diverse and including people from Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
With support from the Red Cross and Revive, the PCC approved a programme of Creative English classes that use role play based on everyday situations such as shopping, visiting the doctor or talking to teachers. Each session contains activities that are both educational and fun.
Mahfouza, who fled the civil war in Syria said, “After taking my children to school I would come back and stay home all day. But once I was taken to the English classes at The Ascension I learnt to speak some English.”
A migrant Polish worker said, “I had done a previous English course but soon forgot everything. This course is good because I can come every week and practise. We laugh! We are friends. It’s good to learn with natural speakers without feeling judged.”
Over two years, the project has educated over 100 people, including many typically ‘difficult to reach’ women from conservative cultures. Lasting friendships have been formed and people have the confidence to speak without an interpreter, so no longer feel cut off from wider society. One of the students has even become a teacher herself.
Canon David Wyatt, Priest in Charge, is looking forward to the rebuilding of The Ascension, following a devastating fire in 2017, so that it once again takes its place at the centre of the Broughton community. The classes were moved to St Paul’s, Paddington following the fire.