Birkby and Fartown celebrate one year of giving free ESOL classes

Churches in Birkby and Fartown have recently celebrated their first year of breaking boundaries through running free lessons in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL).

Stuart Beaumont of ONE17 presenting the certificates to some of the studentsOver the past year the congregations at St Cuthbert’s, Birkby, and Fartown Trinity Methodist Church have been working together to run these sessions with the aim to help non-English speakers become more integrated into the local community.

Not only does the programme help them to learn the English language, but it also provides more opportunity for them to find work and to make new friends.

The photo shows Stuart Beaumont of ONE17 presenting the end of term certificates to some of the students. 

Over 17 different languages are spoken within the multi-cultural communities of Bikby and Fartown, including Urdu, Arabic, Gujerati, Hungarian, three forms of Kurdish, two forms of Punjabi, Polish, Croatian, and Umbundu. 

The project is co-ordinated by qualified ESOL teacher Revd Sally Spencer, the Methodist Minister, and the classes are led by volunteers from both churches. 

Anyone is invited, regardless of benefit status, ethnic background, religion and gender.

Revd Mary Railton-Crowder, Vicar of St Cuthbert’s, said, “There is a lovely atmosphere at the classes and lots of new friendships have been made between people from different ethnic and language groups.  

“Over 40 people have attended during the year and a few weeks ago we celebrated the end of term with the presentation of certificates.”

She added, “It was great to chat with some of the students and hear how much they enjoy the classes and how useful they have been. 

“We are very much looking forward to continuing working with Fartown on this joint project.”

Last year the project was given start-up funding by ONE17 Architects and Interior Designers as Stuart Beaumont from the company is St Cuthbert’s Inspecting Architect.

Revd Mary Railton-Crowder mentioned, “I applied to the ONE17 Charitable Trust for funding for the project - and they donated £300 to help us get started. 

“Stuart was really pleased to visit the project to present the certificates and see first-hand what a real difference ONE17's support had made in our community.”

To find out more about the ESOL project, please email stcuthbertsbirkby [at] yahoo.co.uk

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