English + goes online to support BME community
English +, the Norfolk language service for the Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) community, has moved its services online so as to continue to provide support during the coronavirus crisis.
Rosie Sexton, the CEO of the charity, writes: “Yesterday I rang one client who comes to English+ to see how she was doing. She had no food apart from eggs and bread, and she was unaware that she could leave the house for groceries.
“She lives in a shared house with no-one who speaks her language, so is completely isolated. She was meant to have a doctor’s appointment due to stress, lack of sleep and flashbacks, but missed it as was unaware she was able to talk to the doctor on the phone.
“She had a letter concerning her asylum case from her solicitor which she did not understand. All these issues were relatively easy to resolve, but she had no idea where to get help while in lockdown. We have many clients we are concerned about who are in similar situations.”
English + works particularly with refugees and asylum-seekers. As well as putting on English classes, it provides on-going information, advice relating to benefits, housing, immigration, health and employment.
In addition is gives emergency support with food and other household essentials, as well as data top-ups to access online schooling and to ensure people are not isolated.
During this difficult time, it is giving one-to-one support through telephone calls. This means that when needs arise people have a trusted individual to turn to for assistance.
A number of recent comments from clients indicate how valuable they continue to find the service:
“When we live far from home we feel very alone; please keep up your amazing work for us.”
“Thank you for carrying on with the classes online, it is so nice to 'see' someone.”
“Thank you for your help, I was not sleeping with stress but now I am again.”
Project title: English+
Summary: Supports members of the BME (Black and Minority Ethnic) community, particularly refugees and asylum seekers, to learn English, find community, integrate and have equal access to support.
Description: English+ has a team of five part-time staff and several volunteers, and through staff at partner organisations is able to access specialist services. Where possible it is connecting clients in need to their local churches or other services for support.
Where we operate: Mostly Norwich but also wider Norfolk
Address: We would usually run classes at several churches across Norwich, and currently work remotely.
Public contact details: firstname.lastname@example.org 07951067435
Our main contact: Rosie Sexton, CEO, email@example.com 07951067435
Our needs: We have had to increase our staff hours to help meet the increased and changed needs of both the teaching and the support work. We have established an emergency fund to help those in need with phone cards, data for internet, emergency supplies and for those who lose their jobs until universal credit comes through. This all requires financial assistance. Additionally we are looking for laptop computers, cleaned and in good working order for people needing to study online.
How we work with other projects: We work closely with other charities within the BME sector serving refugees and asylum seekers (New Routes, Bridge Plus, Red Cross and others) and together we are delivering a range of services to help people at this time.
Prayer requests: That we remain available for those in need, as many of our clients fall through the gaps, are not easily able to access phone support and have lost jobs already.
For wisdom with how to use our limited resources and time.
Energy and strength for staff.
For many of our clients who are very anxious, isolated and their difficult situations are compounded by Covid-19
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