Kayla Simpson-George writes about her our Speak Street English sessions:
Come to Speak Street and improve your English, while making new friends and having fun! Join the friendly atmosphere with others wanting to learn.
In collaboration with Islington Refugee Centre and the Baptist church on Cross Street, the class runs Wednesdays 10-12pm. Anybody is welcome to attend and improve their conversational English, no matter their current level of English or their native language. The diversity within the class is immense, with people from all around the globe; Turkish, Russian and Arabic to name a few.
Opening in November 2015; the sessions are lead by founder Joanna Bevan and a team of hard working volunteers, some of whom have previously attended the sessions. The main aim is to bring the community together, and provide support and skills to help them live in London.
Each session is focused around a theme, which ends with a guest speaker. Depending on ability, members are split into small groups and helped at their own pace and level. Recently, the session was about books and the Library. This included drawing and talking about their favourite books. Learning how to use common words when speaking and writing sentences, and also skills such as how to fill out forms. Topics for the coming weeks include weddings, market stalls, and the police force.
Joanna describes her way of teaching as a ‘Community Approach’, interactive and practical learning, mixing cultures and different communities and making them one. She believes that classes like this be more helpful and more effective than simply going to an English class; it focuses on everyday terms, phrases and language used.
Under David’s Cameron’s government, ESOL, (English for speakers of another Language) classes including this one, have had their funding cut, however his recent announcement indicates the government plans to boost spending again. The Islington Migrant and Refugee Centre had gone from teaching 5 days a week to just 1 day but thanks to Speak Street was able to offer a session on an additional day. The sessions are now largely reliant on volunteers and donations but the cuts have made it impossible to help everyone in the local community.
Speak Street is more than just a place to learn English. It’s about community being able to confidently live within it.
Denise* is originally from Turkey and moved to England in 1997. She been part of the Islington Refugee center for many years and joined Speak Street through that.
“ I am so happy to come to the class, I never spoke any English before that. I have made many friends and it’s nice to be around these people. The teaching is good and they help me with any problems.”
Speak Street is always looking for new members and of course new volunteers. If you’d like to be part of this growing group and make new friends along the way than this is for you. Along with English Speak Street also holds French and Spanish Lessons on alternative days.
For more information please see the Speak Street website at www.speak-street.com.