Members of English For Action's 'Language For Change' project

A local charity in Tower Hamlets, London is supporting migrants to help create an equal and fair society by providing free English classes.

English for Action (EFA) is dedicated to teaching the English language to those who might not have had the opportunity or funding to learn.

With funding from the Trust, the project is helping local people to feel more confident and build stronger networks in their community by enhancing their English language skills.

Phoebe Cullingworth, Development Manager at EFA, explained: “We have a lot of migrants and refugees in Tower Hamlet who have never had the opportunity to learn English formally and without the ability to communicate, they are often pushed to the fringes of the community.

“People really want to learn. We’re trying to help people build the skills they need to live a happy life, to support their families, get to know their neighbours and make friends in the community.”

The project attracts 30 regular members, who are all keen to enhance their life circumstances and support one another, in a friendly environment.

The project is completely member led and is building a reputation in Tower Hamlets as the go-to-place to learn English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) since mainstream funding has been drastically cut.

Phoebe added: “It’s really amazing what people can do when they’re given access to education. Some of our project members never spoke a word of English and are now fluent.

“One is studying business and is in the process of setting up a social enterprise.”

EFA London’s aim is to reach people who may miss out on mainstream ESOL courses. They believe that ESOL classes, with the correct focus, can enable people to access the social, economic and political benefits that would be out of reach without language training and support.

The project is funded by the Trust with money raised through The Health Lottery in London East. To date, The Health Lottery has raised over £109 million to support local projects across England, Scotland and Wales.

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