Active Citizenship and English

About the project

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An ACE learner enjoying a workshop at the National Theatre

Active Citizenship and English (ACE) was a 2 year European Integration Fund (EIF) project running from July 2013 – June 2015. It supported women who were citizens of countries outside the EU and are now settling in the UK, encouraging active citizenship and helping to prepare them to meet UK citizenship application requirements.

ACE was led by Learning Unlimited and delivered in partnership with Blackfriars Settlement, Working Men’s College and the Institute of Education.

Building on the successful 3 year EIF-funded Welcome to the UK project, also led by Learning Unlimited, the ACE had several main strands of activity:

1. ACE ESOL programmes for women
2. Befriending
3. Opportunities to engage with local people, local communities and facilities
4. Capacity building training and support
5. Add value to the skill and experience of Third Country Nationals and volunteers
6. ACE impact assessment

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Learners at Blackfriars Settlement taking part in the baking short course
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Learners at Blackfriars Settlement taking part in the baking short course

1. ACE ESOL programmes for women:

  • 275 learners from 38 different countries were engaged in graded ESOL classes at each partner centre (ESOL Entry 1, Entry 2, Entry 3, Level 1/2). 227 of these attended at least 80% of their course.
  • Topics included women in politics, equality, home safety, British culture, traditions, crime, volunteering, and healthy eating.
  • Learners were also offered 25 taster workshops and short courses in a wide range of subject areas such as literacy, baking, CV writing, Life in the UK, yoga, cake decorating and ESOL exam practice.
  • Learners also received free childcare where requested, free local travel to help them attend class and also become more confident in travelling around London, and a free copy of the latest version of the Life in the UK book upon successful completion of their first ACE course.

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2. Befriending

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An ACE befriender and her friend

Over the two years of the project, 65 women were trained as volunteer befrienders, supporting ACE learners in a wide range of ways such as meeting regularly to practise speaking English, signposting and providing local information, supporting class trips and support with exam preparation.

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3. Opportunities to engage with local people, local communities and facilities

  • To enrich the learners’ experience, promote language development, cultural awareness and integration, each centre designed a suite of supporting activities with the support of the ACE team. These included 36 trips and visits to places like the Houses of Parliament, the poppies at the Tower of London, Kew Gardens, Borough Market and the London Eye.
See photos from our ACE trip to Kew Gardens
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ACE learners on their way to Kew Gardens

See more pictures of our trip to Kew Gardens in May 2014

See more pictures of our trip to the London Eye in May 2015

There was also a wide range of themed events held at each centre, covering topics like keeping safe/safety at home, learner progression and local politics.
Read the online coverage of our ‘Talking Politics’ events and have a look at pictures from both events.

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ACE learners having a break during a half-term event

  • 86 learners also took up supported volunteering opportunities at a range of organisations such as Kenwood House, children’s centres, charity shops and events at both centres.
  • And more than 100 learners were supported by volunteer befrienders at some point during the project

 

 

4. Capacity building training and support

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    Listening to the keynote speaker at the dissemination event

    4 Teaching Basic Literacy to ESOL Learners courses were run for a total of 52 learners, meeting the identified need for training to teach basic reading and writing skills to ESOL learners, an area not covered by the vast majority of standard ESOL teacher training courses
    6 CPD workshops were held, the programme designed to meet the identified needs of specific target groups. In total, 75 participants attended workshops on Language and literacy awareness for front line workers, Pronunciation for integration and Developing innovative EIF projects.
    The project held a dissemination event at the end of each year, reaching over 130 delegates from across the country. Contributors to the events included Migration Matters Scotland and Integration up North, ensuring that a wide range of experiences of EIF funding were being shared.

5. Add value to the skill and experience of Third Country Nationals and volunteers

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    21 volunteers befrienders were trained and supported in becoming ‘practitioner researchers’, collecting impact assessment data from learners on befriending.
  • Several volunteer befrienders and learners were involved in the Literacy for Active Citizenship project, developing, piloting and publishing a series of graded, illustrated readers, designed to help learners develop their literacy skills. More information on the books and how to purchase them can be found here.

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6. ACE impact assessment 

One of our befrienders making her vote in the Talking Politics election
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One of our befrienders making her vote in the Talking Politics election

 

For more information on the ACE project, please contact Karen Dudley, ACE Project Manager, on 020 7911 5562 or karen.dudley@learningunlimited.co

 

 

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