Volunteer Hilary has just started running the English classes at the centre, having previously run courses at the Refugee Council. With the help of another volunteer, Abi, her classes are lively, interactive and fun ways for our clients to get to grips with the language.
She says the classes are a crucial part of asylum seekers and refugees integrating into life in London and feeling comfortable here. “Anyone coming to this country might find the different culture, climate, economic and political scene pretty confusing. Not being able to understand the language on top of that will make life extremely challenging. Helping them to learn the language should aid integration into their new community.”
She adds her clients always have interesting backgrounds. “Already, some have taught me more than I have managed to teach them. Having something useful to give in return is rewarding.”
Our other volunteer Kate, meanwhile, started arts and crafts sessions for Kennington clients in April. She says the aim is to provide a peaceful and relaxing activity. “A lot of the projects we do are very quick to complete - making lavender bags, or colouring postcards - allowing clients to finish a project in a short time, which I hope gives a sense of achievement.”
She adds meeting the clients is the most rewarding part of the work. “I really enjoy meeting the clients, and it's great to spend an afternoon doing creative activities. It's also lovely to see people’s different skills - I'm in awe of some of them!”