The women have completed a government-funded 10-week English language and integration course at the QED foundation in Bradford. Here they’ve overcome the first barriers to learning English and now feel more confident in dealing with everyday situations like visiting the shops or going to the doctors. The women are also given practical experience in British life through visits to local companies and informal meetings with different local communities.
Communities Minister Stephen Williams said:
“This government is helping create a fairer society and through our integration projects we’ve helped hundreds of people in Bradford and thousands of people across the country take a more active role in British life.
“Learning English should be a priority for everyone living in Britain and I’m pleased that the women attending courses at the QED foundation have taken their first steps towards learning our language.
“Being able to speak English can change lives – it helps people to make friends and build strong ties with their local communities, take informed decisions about health and education and open the door to the workplace.”
Not speaking English can lead to isolation and make it hard for people to take a full part in British life and the 2011 census figures showed that across England 1.7% of the population have either no, or poor spoken English. A high proportion of these people are British women from the Bangladeshi, Pakistani and Somali communities.
The Quest for Integration (Yorkshire) course at the QED foundation provides English language and integration training to 300 eligible women – those that have been in the country for less than 10 years and don’t speak English – to aid better integration into mainstream economic and social activity.
“QED has one simple goal,” says founder and chief executive Dr Mohammed Ali OBE. “We take direct action to create a more cohesive and harmonious society and we encourage others to do the same.
“By engaging the support of key players from the private, public and voluntary sectors, we aim to sweep away the barriers that hold back people from ethnic minority backgrounds. We are delighted to work with the Department of Communities and Local Government to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to make a positive contribution to life in the UK.”
In November 2013, 6 creative and original projects to bring English language learning into the heart of the community and reach 24,000 of the most isolated adults in the country won a share of £6 million government funding.
Since the launch in 2014, more than 10,000 adults have already had the chance to make friends, get a job and take a full part in British life by learning to speak English through the projects.