Caritas Anchor House

Working at the heart of homelessness

Improving language and confidence with Your Space

Our News in Brief

Improving language and confidence with Your Space

15th October 2018
Our Your Space programme not only brings together communities but also supports members to feel confident and at ease in their everyday lives.

Our Your Space programme is based on facilitating safe spaces for Caritas Anchor House residents and members of the community in Newham to express their thoughts with no fear of judgements or prejudice. Our various groups nurture conversations and connections.

Caritas Anchor House’s partnership with the Minhaj-Ul-Quran group has allowed us to expand our outreach to help members of the community where English is not their first language. This English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) group occurs fortnightly and allows people to practice their English conversation. Members of the group come from all parts of the world, from France to Afghanistan, with some having resided in England for as short as two weeks to as long as 20 years.

There is no definitive description or requirements for attending this group, but each and every person gains something in their own way. Some members want to expand their English language to help their children in school work, or some just want to maintain conversation.

This week’s group highlighted the topic of difficulties interacting with local health providers such as their GP, and how a lack of confidence and English skills can inhibit their ability to secure appointments when necessary. The lack of success in these matters made members doubt their English skills. But during the group, members were comforted by shared experiences, and felt empowered during such interactions.

We spoke to Yousef who has been a member of Your Space for under a year, and has lived in England for over two years.  Originating from Dubai, he believed that his English was his biggest weakness, but in July, he received an award at Portcullis House for completing the first year of his ESOL accreditation.

During the group, Yousef brought food to show his gratitude towards his fellow members and to help new joiners feel comfortable. He explained that his first few sessions were difficult, but that his English would not have improved without the support of Caritas Anchor House. He hopes that his success will mean that he is able to bring his children to England in the future.

Tallat Bhatti, our Your Space Programme Coordinator, said, “When I first met Yousef, he was really quiet and avoided eye contact. As he progressed within the group, he was able to open up and talk about how his family have been affected by the Rohingya’s tragedies – said to be the world's fastest growing refugee crisis.

“Once he begun discussing this, I saw a change where he was the one encouraging other group members to open up. He has shared that he considers this group family and is willing to help them when he can.”

You can find out more about Your Space here, or to make a donation towards our work, please click here.

Share this page