Somerset Language Connect is a new project aimed at bringing together learners from minority ethnic communities across Somerset, who would like to improve their conversational English, with learning partners who aim to support them. The scheme is completely free of charge and is run by Somerset Diverse Communities, a part of CCS, and is supported by the Somerset Coronavirus Response and Recovery Fund.
When learning a language, meeting up with a fluent speaker is the ideal opportunity to practise language skills, learn new vocabulary and become more confident. The Language Connect project does just that, pairing English learners with volunteers, with learning sessions taking place online via a video conferencing platform.
English learners, who are already participating in the scheme, say that it has helped them with their day-to-day life, with finding work and feeling more confident in social situations. For the volunteers supporting the learners, the experience can be very rewarding. It’s an opportunity to learn about people and their cultures and the challenges people face when they come to the UK. There is also the potential for lasting friendships to be made.
Jusna Hussain, Community Engagement Worker for Somerset Diverse Communities said:
“Learning a language on your own can be hard, but by having a language partner to chat to over the internet learners are encouraged keep going and to stay motivated and positive. It’s a safe environment to learn in. Learners get a better understanding of the quirks and nuances of the English language, they can laugh about any mistakes and misunderstandings and start to lose any anxiety they may have about learning another language.”
Somerset Diverse Communities is encouraging all those who would like to get involved to call the organisation’s Community Enablers Jusna on 07946 461544 email firstname.lastname@example.org or Michal on 07377 363165 email email@example.com.
Somerset Diverse Communities celebrate and share the diversity in the county; bringing people together, developing skills and building long term relationships and networks whilst working collaboratively with black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities in Somerset. If you are part of a community group, would like to start one, or need help expanding the work you’re already doing visit the website at: https://ccslovesomerset.org/somerset-diverse-communities
You can also watch this Talking Cafe Jusna hosted with two of the couples paired in the Language Connect programme here: https://youtu.be/InspsH1f4ZM