Christian charity helps people feel at home in Norwich
When we share our passions we connect with people, and that is the idea behind local Christian charity English+’s programme of community activities.
From sailing, and weaving, to exploring the beautiful Broads and sharing Norfolk’s wonderful history, there have been opportunities for students to connect with Norfolk people and with other new arrivals to Norfolk, fulfilling English+’s aims to help asylum seekers, refugees and other internationals to learn English, make friends, find community and to make this city their home.
Thanks for the generosity of Norwich School and the Nancy Oldfield Trust students have been learning to sail on the Norfolk Broads – a wonderful opportunity to learn new skills and spend time on the water – there’s plenty of new vocabulary to learn too! Learning English can feel like hard work, and a student commented that “it makes learning English much more interesting with all the different things that we do”.
In Partnership with Norfolk Museums Service, there’s a friendly museums group, which meets weekly to learn more about the wonders of Norfolk’s past. During lockdown the group moved online with a busy Whatsapp group full of fascinating facts from the Kett's Rebellion to Dragon Hall, via fascinating and sometimes scandalous stories of historic Norfolk families, students said that it was lovely to stay connected even during those isolating times.
Some people find community in creativity too, and, with the Norfolk Guild of Weavers, a group of students have been enjoying learning how to weave, crochet and knit and having a good natter along the way. There is also a busy art, craft and conversation group which has worked on projects from textiles, to watercolours and is a wonderful coming together of people from the local community and English+ to find community and creativity together.
And students say that it’s great to give something back too, so many of them have really enjoyed volunteering with the Broads Authority working together outside, on projects from coppicing, and clearing land, right through to repointing a building at Strumpshaw Fen.
Rosie Sexton, Charity Director said, “our core purpose at English+ is to show God’s love in action to newcomers to Norwich, and the community programme is a key part of this. As we spend time alongside students sailing, learning about Norfolk’s rich history and working on conservation projects in the Broads we really get the opportunities to build relationships and be part of their journey as they settle into an often very different life here in Norfolk.”
The community programme runs alongside English+’s language and conversation classes, which take place in churches around Norwich (and currently online), and provide small group tuition by qualified teachers from absolute beginners to more advanced students.
People from over 50 countries take part in their programmes and they are currently welcoming students newly arrived from Afghanistan and Hong Kong.
English + is a Christian Charity which this year is celebrating 10 years of welcome in Norwich and is aiming to raise £10k towards its provision of English Language and conversation classes in City Churches. To find out more about supporting them visit www.englishplus.org.uk/giving