Two churches in Harehills who provide a vital service for asylum seekers and refugees are in desperate need of help.
Twice a week, St Aidan’s & Trinity United in Harehills are transformed into a lively multicultural community where people from all over the world come to learn English and make friends.
The Revd Diana Zanker, Chair of Trustees, says, “Over the last 11 years, we’ve grown from 4 learners to around 60+ and have already assessed over 130 potential learners since September this year.
"There’s a huge need for classes in the area largely because there is much less English language provision in local colleges. We offer free tuition and a free crèche for under school age children.”
The language learners are mainly asylum seekers and refugees, who come from countries such as Eritrea, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Syria and Angola. Diana adds, “Many have suffered persecution as a result of political and religious beliefs, and their journeys here are often traumatic. But the English lessons can be life changing and some go on to attend college classes and even return to help as volunteers. One woman, who was almost mute because of her experience in Eritrea, now runs the crèche that we also provide .
“As Christians we want to offer hospitality and practical help. We also arrange day trips to the countryside and seaside, which they really appreciate - it’s great to see them beaming and saying, ‘I can’t believe I’m in England!’"
Diana is now looking for a Volunteer Fundraiser to work with existing support and a retired teacher to assist the Project Leader. Both roles are voluntary. If you’re interested in either of these roles, or would like to support in some other way, please contact Revd Diana Zanker: diana [at] zanker.org (email) diana [at] zanker.uk () or 07882 558717 for further details or an application form. It's hoped that interviews will take place on 10 January 2018.