English language help at Ely coffee time

9 September 2011, 12:00

A new club which only opened in June is doubling it's cafe-based informal classes to help people in East Cambridgeshire to improve their English.

The English Language Café already meets in the Hub café at the Lighthouse Centre in Ely every Tuesday at 10.30am, but is now opening Wednesday evenings after 730pm.

The aim of the sessions is to help people who have settled in the district who have not had the opportunity or the confidence to undertake formal language courses, and those who wish to practise their English in between lessons.

This scheme aims to offer to bridge the language gap through informal conversation with mentors helping to guide them through the basics of the English language.

Emily Haysom from East Cambridgeshire District Council told Heart: "East Cambridgeshire has thrived in its recent history because of the way communities have embraced different nationalities coming to the district to support our economy. Many industries have grown because of the hard work of migrant workers and they have integrated well into local towns and villages. However for some the transition to moving to a new country has been more difficult and we know of some people who have lived here for many years who still struggle to speak English.

"Learning a language can be daunting especially if you are not confident but the lack of language can have a detrimental impact on people’s every day life. For example, it can lead to problems in every day life, setting up bank accounts, understanding health and safety instructions, helping children with schoolwork. We have heard of adults having to take their children to doctor’s surgeries to act as interpreters for them and understandably this can cause stress and be a burden on a family. The language barrier can also lead to misunderstandings and friction between different people in our community. If this Language Café can help to improve this situation then we can only strengthen our community.

"We want this new club to be informal, social and fun a bit like the atmosphere you get at a book club. Anyone can come along from young mums to the elderly who are keen to learn some of the basics of English with the support of local mentors."

For more information or to volunteer as a mentor please contact Emily Haysom on 01353 665555