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Call for venue support: Could you support Edinburgh College’s outreach programme?

Posted: 16th June 2021

By means of introduction, I manage a department of Edinburgh College which teaches ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) to adults. Our outreach provision caters for a range of students; those with little or no literacy, as well as those who have been highly educated in their home country. Our students are often the most vulnerable in society – many are newly arrived in the UK as refugees or asylum seekers, after fleeing from incredible hardship. They are all keen to become part of the community in Scotland, and work here, but often have little or no command of the English language on arrival, which greatly inhibits their social mobility and economic prospects.

To make classes accessible to our students, many of whom have small children, they take place in community outreach venues around the city.  Over the past few years we have seen access to appropriate buildings where classes can be taught reduced considerably for a multitude of reasons – rising costs in existing premises, re-purposing of buildings etc. and this is going to be a worsening situation post-Covid.

This will have the consequence of either reduced class numbers, meaning we have to turn away vulnerable students, who have no means to pay for expensive, private tuition or obliging students to take an online route, which adds a significant barrier to learning.

So how can we help each other?

I am aware of your excellent links with the Edinburgh local community and your significant and often demonstrated commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility, so I am reaching out to you to determine if you can assist in this area of great social need for the most disadvantaged in our community by making available to the college any unused meeting space for periods during the week at any of your city centre buildings.  We aim to give students at least 3 sessions a week, either morning or afternoon, based on research done into the amount of input needed for effective language acquisition.

We would of course be happy to work together on any publicity, local press or other form of recognition of what an incredible gesture this would be by you, and I’d be happy to meet to discuss further any specifics, if this is an idea you feel your company can support in any way.

Thank you in advance and look forward to discussing more with any relevant department or individuals within your organisation.

Kay Penman

Curriculum Manager for Community-based ESOL and Modern Languages

Edinburgh College

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