Welcoming new arrivals to Tower Hamlets with support for language skills

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Lord Bourne and Cllr Islam observe an ESOL lesson at the Sundial Centre

Councillor Sirajul Islam, Statutory Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Housing, yesterday welcomed Lord Bourne, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to see an innovative new programme that supports new migrants and refugees in Tower Hamlets.   

The visit took place at the Sundial Centre, Bethnal Green, where 10 residents were busy learning English. They explained that language classes were helping to build their confidence, develop new skills and help them feel more connected to their communities.

The East End has a long history of migration, and the minister learnt that in the recent resident survey 86% felt people from different backgrounds get on well together in the borough.

The council successfully bid for £500,000 of Government funding this year to ensure that support services were available to migrants and refugees.  

A number of activities to support the development of English for speakers of other languages, (ESOL), are being developed by local community and voluntary groups. These include classes, conversation clubs, volunteering activities and a ‘Welcome to Tower Hamlets’ pack.

Mayor John Biggs said: “We value our ESOL classes in Tower Hamlets, and I have boosted the number of ESOL places and vocational classes available to residents needing to improve their English to be able to work. I am pleased our funding application to the government’s migration fund was successful to complement our existing programme.”

Councillor Sirajul Islam Deputy Mayor for Housing and Statutory Deputy Mayor said: “I was delighted to meet Lord Bourne and show him some of the benefits this government funding has brought to the borough. It’s improving people’s life chances, enhancing their links to the community and building their skill base. Tower Hamlets is a great place to live, and one of our greatest assets is our diversity. I am proud that we are now better able to support our newer communities.”

Communities Minister Lord Bourne said: “Tower Hamlets have provided an excellent example of how money from the Controlling Migration Fund can be used to promote integration in local communities. I have seen how this project will provide rapid support to recent arrivals and to Tower Hamlets as a whole, and I look forward to hearing more about its success in the future.”

Posted on Wednesday 21st November 2018