Over 50 ESOL students at East Coast College, Great Yarmouth campus, participated in a workshop organised by the Strategic Migration Partnership’s ‘Active Citizens Together’ (ACT) Project which is now completing its sixth month, with funding from the EU until September 2017 to encourage mobile European citizens to participate in civic life here in the East of England. The workshop included talks and demonstrations from local organisations including the Norfolk Police, Red Cross, NHS, TUC, Neighbourhoods that Work partners Make it Happen, Voluntary Norfolk and Wild Haven; and Great Yarmouth Borough Council with Councillor Penny Carpenter.
Since the project began last October, workshops have been run on this broad topic for European migrants in Wisbech, Peterborough, Great Yarmouth and Ipswich. Workshops begin with reflections about what the participants think of life here. On the positive side they generally say, for example that they find people here polite, and that there are more opportunities. Not so good are neighbour disputes, litter, drugs and alcohol.
The challenge through these workshops is to get the participants thinking about what they can do to make a positive difference by giving some of their time up for unpaid communal activities – “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” (Mahatma Gandhi)
Of course, this is difficult for people who have primarily migrated here for work but it was a pleasure to see that Great Yarmouth ESOL students showed a real enthusiasm for this. They see that improving where they live also improves their quality of life, and that undertaking voluntary activity is sociable, enhances job prospects and helps improve English.
English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) part-time courses for adult learners run in the daytime and evenings at East Coast College and in community venues in Great Yarmouth. There is a full-time Study Programme for 16 to 18yr olds. For more information please contact ESOL@eastcoastcollege.ac.uk