Volunteers needed to become ESOL Buddies

Published Wednesday 23 February 2022 at 16:25

Blackburn with Darwen Council’s social integration team is looking for people to become ESOL Buddies, supporting people who are learning English as a second language.

ESOL, English for Speakers of Other Languages, is a popular programme where learners develop English language skills in reading, writing, speaking and listening.

Volunteer ESOL Buddies will meet either face-to-face or digitally with a local ESOL learner and work towards some agreed goals.

Meet-ups might include:

  • Going to a coffee shop and practising conversational English
  • Taking the bus
  • Going for a walk around the park
  • Having regular Zoom calls
  • Joining the library or leisure centre
  • Helping the learner to join a local social group or activity
  • Help getting online

This new project is part of the borough’s social integration programme Our Community, Our Future.

Emily Jones, Social Integration Project Officer, is leading on the ESOL Buddies project. She said:

Volunteering as an ESOL Buddy is a great opportunity for you to gain experience and develop new skills while making a difference to other people’s lives.

By volunteering, you will gain experience of supporting a learner, working as part of a team and experience of working with people from different parts of the world. You will also develop your communication, interpersonal and organisational skills.

ESOL Buddies must be aged 19+ and will need to volunteer for a minimum of one hour a week for eight weeks. Expenses will be provided and you will have support from the Council’s Learning English Together team and Adult Learning team.

Nana, who will be one of the learners to benefit from the scheme, said:

I am looking forward to spend time with my buddy. I am better at reading and writing but struggle with speaking and listening. Having this opportunity will help my confidence and allow me to practise speaking in English and go out and about in Blackburn and have a coffee together!

All successful applicants will be required to undergo a full DBS check. This cost will be covered by Blackburn with Darwen Council.

Coun Mohammed Khan, Leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council, said:

The ESOL Buddy support scheme will help people develop their English language skills and get to know the borough beyond their immediate neighbourhood. It’s a scheme that will not only benefit the learner, but also the volunteer acting as their buddy.

More information and details of how to apply to become an ESOL Buddy are on the Lancashire Volunteer Partnership website – click bit.ly/esolbuddy.

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