We covered a range of topics in both the Beginner-Intermediate group and the Main Sessions this month. These included: Directions, Time, Local and Community History, Vegetarian Recipes, Shopping, Family and Childhood. Before every session, we send out a resource containing suggested talking points to encourage conversation, but there is no right or wrong in an EfW session, and it is always fascinating to see where the discussions lead.
During the Beginner-Intermediate session on Directions, we learned some key words such as: Opposite, Facing, Between, Continue, Right and Left; and used a map and role-play to practise using the words in context. It was agreed that retaining the given information can be challenging and we discussed suggested phrases to help such as ‘Could you repeat that, please?’ or ‘Would you mind slowing down a little?’
In our session on Childhood, conversation points included the importance of taking photographs, and how music from our youth can help to evoke memories. For those who did not wish to talk about their own families, the topic provided an opportunity to discuss how childhoods have changed more generally, for instance with the increased use of technology.
EfW welcomes women (and men, via English for All) from all backgrounds and who are at different stages of life. Some learners have attended sessions since we opened in 2015, while others have come for a short while, using EfW as a stepping-stone before leaving to begin a new chapter, perhaps due to a change in location, or a move on to further education, and, often, due to finding work. This month, we said ‘goodbye’ to one learner who joined us at the end of 2019, participated in our online sessions throughout lockdown, and then recently received an offer of full-time employment in the industry within which she trained. Farewells may be tinged with sadness, but we are always pleased when lives move on in such a positive way.
Earlier in the month, the EfW team were delighted to meet online with the Chelmsford Ladies Circle – a local group which extends friendship and offers community support – after learning that English for Women has been chosen to be their Charity of the Year 2021/22. It was lovely to meet with the group to talk further about the work of EfW, and also to learn more about them. This is an amazing group of women from different backgrounds and with a wide variety of skillsets who, like EfW, recognise the value of encouraging strong community links and reducing isolation, and we are very excited to have their support. If you would like to find out more about this wonderfully welcoming group, please follow this link to their website.
As we approach the spring half-term with a slight easing of social restrictions (and some better weather!), many of us are making plans to see family or friends over the break. During our last session of the week, we discussed some of the things we might do and places we might visit. Here is a reminder of a few links shared in the session:
As next week is National Volunteers Week, we’d like to take this opportunity to once again offer our heartfelt thanks to our amazing teams. Each and every volunteer contributes to making EfW the welcoming, smiling, supportive environment that it is, and the project couldn’t exist without them! We’ll leave you with a photo below of the fantastic sign produced by one of our learners and her son last year.
Whatever your plans for half term, stay safe and well, and we look forward to welcoming you back on Tuesday 15th June. Don’t forget to check our Facebook and Twitter pages for further updates regarding all of our sessions.
See you soon,
– The EfW Team