As the ongoing pandemic continues to challenge us all, never before has our mission for social justice been so important.
Fircroft’s previous community-based ESOL projects, Talk English and Midlands Engine, came to an end in March 2020 due to COVID19 and we are eager to keep the momentum of their ESOL work in the local community. Neena Chauhan, Project Manager shares why this is important:
“We have successfully delivered two challenging projects working closely with local partners and our amazing volunteer tutors. COVID19 threw a huge spanner in the works and abruptly stopped this progress in March leaving many of our students without any ESOL opportunities. This, combined with minimal to no access to digital platforms or online education, caring responsibilities and mental health concerns made us really want to develop some solutions to support our learners”.
By working with three organisations, in particular, British Red Cross, Birmingham and Solihull Women’s Aid and Barnados, over 300 households of individuals and families were identified who had limited access to technology and WIFI. This automatically excluded them from accessing online educational opportunities in addition to further challenges of children being at home, some having no recourse to public funds and mental health concerns. These households were particularly from the BAME community including Refugees and Asylum seekers.
Fircroft wanted to help change this situation!
Working in partnership with Birmingham Centre for Arts Therapies they collectively designed an ESOL and wellbeing pack which included an ESOL workbook for a range of levels and a Calming Pack aimed at promoting positive wellbeing through therapeutic based activities.
The ESOL workbook was a huge collaborative effort led by Neena Chauhan, Project Manager and involved Volunteer Teachers, Marketing and Tutor teams at Fircroft College. Speaking about the initiative, Mel Lenehan, Principal and CEO said:
“The College has been delighted to support this work with our partners. It’s important that we can develop teaching and learning resources that can support adults where they are. For adults with limited or no access to technology and the skills to learn online, having a workbook will keep families supported to continue their learning”.
Both workbooks were provided with colouring pencils and pens and delivered to these three community partners in early June 2020.
The ESOL and wellbeing bundles have now been delivered and Fircroft is continuing to work closely with the partners to track the impact this will have on the households who receive these. Rohima Khatun from Barnardos, one of the recipients of the bundles, said:
“I received the workbooks yesterday, and I am absolutely blown away by the quality and content. You have all done an amazing job. I have already handed out the first booklet and full distribution will start next week”.
Fircroft College looks forward to seeing how this positively encourages ESOL learners during this time, helping them develop their English further and staying as positive as they can during this challenging time!
Please take a look at our new ESOL Calming Pack and ‘Easy English at Home’ workbook