Church leads way to link Spalding communities

The Vicar of Spalding, the Rev John Bennett. SG030317-124TW
The Vicar of Spalding, the Rev John Bennett. SG030317-124TW
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The Vicar of Spalding, the Rev John Bennett, is helping the town’s migrant and settled communities come face-to-face in conversation.

In March, a Church-funded Community Connectors project headed by Mr Bennett revealed East Europeans saw their lack of spoken English as the main obstacle in the way of them making English friends.

At the time, Mr Bennett called for “a coordinated effort across Spalding” to provide English lessons for settlers and also chances to practice English with other residents in a variety of informal settings.

He said this would benefit the whole community, not just migrants.

Two months earlier, Boston, Spalding and Wisbech were identified in a national report as being the least integrated towns in the UK, having seen some of the highest levels of immigration.

Mr Bennett is now looking for English volunteers to lead an hour of structured English conversation, for as little or as much time as they can spare, over five weeks in the summer.

He is also targeting East Europeans who might benefit through contacts and leaflet drops.

Volunteers for conversation sessions can attend a planning meeting in The Maples Room, at The Vista in Churchgate, Spalding, starting at 7.30pm on June 5.

Sessions take place from 11.30am-1.30pm, Mondays-Fridays, between July 24 and August 25.

Each session is followed by lunch.

The Community Connectors report also revealed that migrants were suffering exploitation because they didn’t have enough English to understand their housing tenancy rights and some were travelling home for medical treatment in order to be understood.

• Volunteers can also telephone Mr Bennett on 01775 719668.

Previously ...

Vicar calls on Spalding to help migrants learn English as new report reveals catalogue of exploitation