Ipswich migrants to be given free English lessons thanks to £300,000 grant
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Migrants in Ipswich’s most deprived areas are to benefit from free English language and engagement workshops after a community project won £300,000 of National Lottery funding.
The money will allow Ipswich Community Media (ICM) to run weekly English language classes each year for 120 people from a range of backgrounds including the Roma community, Syrian refugees and asylum seekers.
Those taking part in the new IConnect project will also get free workshops in areas such as health and wellbeing.
ICM says the project will be "truly transformative and unique", adding that it had been made possible by working closely with Ipswich Borough Council and Suffolk Refugee Support - the latter of which ICM shares premises in St Matthews Street, Ipswich,
Prachi Katdare, director of learning at ICM, 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.
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"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."
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Some participants will become ambassadors and community champions, who will provide support to people who may be socially isolated.
Daniel Banceanu, a former ESOL student and community ambassador for ICM, said: "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."
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."