Around 16% of the Oxford population have a main language that is not English, and 2000-3000 don’t speak English well or at all (2011 Census). However, English classes are unaffordable to many, especially to refugees, asylum seekers and members of disadvantaged communities, costing about £250 for 10 weeks. Language barriers can lead to isolation and entrench existing inequalities by restricting people’s ability to participate in their community, access services, find work and support their children (eg with homework).
FELLOW provides open and friendly English classes to individuals from disadvantaged communities, run by a volunteer team of local residents and university students. FELLOW enables language exchange that is mutually beneficial to learners and volunteers, with both developing new skills, gaining confidence and making new friendships and connections. For learners, these skills and connections will enable access to services and sources of support, increasing their social and financial security and improving their wellbeing. Funding would cover the cost of learning materials, trips to put learning into practice, and IT equipment to allow FELLOW to be run remotely if necessary.
Oxford Hub has 13 years' experience of running successful volunteering programmes and has been involved with FELLOW since the programme began in 2008. Our flexible approach has been crucial during the covid-19 pandemic - we played a key role in coordinating Oxford's response to the pandemic, and adapted our programmes to work remotely. FELLOW's volunteer-led learning model is adaptable, resilient and sustainable - some learners go on to become teachers themselves. We have strong collaborative links with Oxford City Council and other local organisations, enabling us to reach learners who will particularly benefit from the project and ensure that they receive appropriate support.
|Standard DBS checks for 20 volunteers @£13 each
|Zoom subscription for online classes for one year
|Laptops for each of the three learning venues @£229.99 each
|Projectors for each of the three learning venues @£89.99 each
|Wifi dongles for each of the three learning venues @£10.39 each
|Printed workbooks (estimate based on 5p per page, 50 pages, for 100 leaners)
|Digital outreach: boost 3 social media posts, to be viewed by up to 2k people per day for 14 days @£50 per boost
|Physical outreach: 500 double-sided A5 flyers
|Trip/interactive session costs, estimated at £15pp for 6 trips/sessions each for 10 people (including activity/entrance costs, transport, refreshments, notebook and printed activity book)
|Learning materials to support 1:1 matches working on specific qualifications
We aim to reach 100 learners and 20 volunteers in the next 6 months. We will work with Oxford City Council and local refugee/asylum seeker support services to reach and support learners from disadvantaged groups, for whom participation in the programme can have the greatest impact. Outcomes will be determined according to individual needs, but are likely to include: improved English language skills and confidence in applying these in everyday life, working towards English language qualifications, accessing support and/or careers services, an expanded social network, a greater sense of belonging in Oxford, and specific improvements in quality of life for learners and their families directly related to the development of language skills, confidence and social connections through participation in the programmes. As well as conventional evaluation methods, we will use the Most Significant Change technique to evaluate these impacts.
Oxford Hub has a strong track record of delivering social change and community building in Oxford, across our programmes and with FELLOW specifically. In 2019-20 we supported 100 learners, including five weekly classes and 52 one-to-one pairs. The programme has a proven positive impact for teachers and learners. A 2019 survey of FELLOW participants found that learners attend sessions to improve their English (97%), to make friends (33%) and to prepare themselves to get a job (16.7%) 100% of teachers who responded to the survey strongly agreed that taking part helped them feel better connected to the Oxford community. “For me, the best part about FELLOW classes is teaching and making friends at the same time. It's not just help with English, it's help with making friends, helping at work, help going to the shops. I am a part of Oxford now, I learned with FELLOW myself and now I can help others as well' - Anita, FELLOW learner and class leader.