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English course helps new residents to settle in Somerset

English course helps new residents to settle in Somerset

This was an extremely successful project which started in November 2014 and continued until April 2015. The aim of the project was to support people who were unemployed or working fewer than 16 hours a week, to engage with the labour market.

Another aim was to build on the learners' confidence, to be able to socially integrate with their local community and also to access the local services around them, as well as find out about venues of interest around their local community. All of these objectives were met and many of the learners found work, either whilst studying on the course or having just finished the course. The learners themselves have clearly stated that they feel more prepared and more confident to apply for jobs and in turn ready to attend interviews.
Whilst this project had its set targets to meet, so many other positive outcomes have developed on the course. Examples of this are many people on the course have made new friends and have become more familiar with different cultures within their group, therefore challenging any negative stereotypes and celebrating diversity. Another example is that some of the people on the course now feel that they can support their children better with school homework and are able to spend more time with their children, reading English story books together. Whilst studying English, a lot of fun has been had with humour and great rapport amongst the learners and their tutor too. The classes have been on local trips together to the library and to the theatre where they were able to have a look around, ask questions and become familiar with the local facilities. The project has also allowed the people on the course to have guest speakers from The Police come along to visit the lesson. In that time, learners were able to find out about the services that the local police could provide, put any fears to rest about the law and find out what they could do in the event of any hate crime happening to them. So, to conclude, this project was one of utmost importance to the people involved themselves, as well as for the benefit of other people they come into contact with and also their own, immediate family and the education of their children. This project was organised by MECA with funds distributed by South West Community Foundation and Learning Curve. The aforementioned funds were given by the European Social Fund and the Skills Funding Agency. A thoroughly fun and helpful project, which will hopefully be run again in the near future, to provide support for those who need and would like it!

Sindy Uttley
Community English Tutor

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