Ipswich Community Media (ICM) has won almost £300k from the National Lottery’s Community Fund to run a 3-year project delivering English language (ESOL) and engagement workshops to local migrant communities from some of the most deprived and diverse wards in Ipswich.
The ‘IConnect’ project will provide weekly English language classes to over 120 local migrants every year from a mixture of backgrounds including Roma, Syrian refugees, Third Country Nationals and Asylum Seekers. Learners will also receive free workshops providing skills and knowledge in key areas such as health and well-being.
Building on ICM’s award winning track record in local community engagement through media and music, the ‘IConnect’ project aims to be truly transformative and unique. Learners will benefit from a flexible approach combining learning with cultural and creative activities. A key element of this will be the development of a team of Ambassadors/Community Champions made up of learners who will support their peers to access the project and support friendship groups to help address social isolation.
Prachi Katdare, Director of Learning said “This funding will help us to reach even more vulnerable people and provide them with the vital English language skills and knowledge they need to fully engage in our local communities. The lessons, workshops and excursions will also help build vital friendship groups for these often hard to reach communities. In addition to the more structured teaching, ICM is able to offer a variety of volunteering opportunities and engagement in local community events through our media platforms such as IO Radio.”
Daniel Banceanu, an ex ESOL student and community Ambassador for ICM says “Thanks to ICM and its dedicated team of tutors I have been able to progress my English from only a handful of words to now being able to work professionally here as an interpreter for patients in hospital. I can’t praise them enough.”
The ‘IConnect’ project would not have been possible without the new premises at 34 St Matthews Street, which were secured thanks to our successful partnership with Suffolk Refugee Support and support from Ipswich Borough Council. Rebecca Crerar, Manager of Suffolk Refugee Support said “Suffolk Refugee Support is delighted to be sharing premises with Ipswich Community Media. We are committed to ensuring that people from refugee and BME communities have an accessible and friendly place to get help. We look forward to our partnership growing stronger as a result of this fantastic new shared space.”
The ‘IConnect’ project will allow ICM to directly reach over 300 people through weekly English language lessons and hundreds more over the course of the three years.