Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has challenged charities, businesses, local authorities and the adult education and English language sector to come up with innovative ideas to help more people in their communities learn English.
He was speaking to representatives from a wide range of organisations keen to enter the recently launched £6 million competition to fund community-based English language learning. They had come to the Department for Communities and Local Government to hear details of the application process, share ideas and potentially find other organisations to collaborate with.
The government is committed to promote English language learning so that everyone can get on. In 5% of households no-one speaks English as their main language which means that many people are closed off from their communities and unable to fully participate in society, leaving them isolated from their communities.
While English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) courses provide an excellent service and help a lot of people, the nature of many English language courses
- being far from home or without childcare facilities - means that a significant proportion of non-English speaking residents are not accessing this tuition, even when they are eligible for a fee reduction.
The competition will generate new and innovative ideas to deliver English language tuition in communities and up to 4 successful bids will receive a share of funding to turn their proposal into reality.
Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles said:
“If you don’t have a good grasp of English the doors of opportunity are slammed shut and you are condemned to a limited life.
“We want to provide people with opportunities to let them participate fully in British society and make the most of their communities so they can get on without being held back because they can’t speak the language.
“So if you work in adult education, language teaching or for a charity or business we want to hear from you. Let your imagination run wild and submit an original proposal as to how you would help people in your community learn English.
“Help open the doors of opportunity and build a Britain where people are free to succeed”.