Award of £280,000 for English Language Provision in Bedford Borough
Following the success of previous programmes, Bedford Borough Council was invited by the Government to bid for further funding to deliver English language support.
The Council has been awarded £280,299 from the ‘ESOL for Integration Fund (EFIF)’ to deliver a further year of English language classes and outreach to help address the barriers which prevent people learning English.
The Bedford ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) Service has now been awarded over £600,000 in total, to deliver and coordinate this much-needed service in partnership with local community groups with previous awards of £180,000 in 2019/20 and £188,000 in 2020/21.
Mayor Dave Hodgson said “This further funding award really is a mark of the incredible work that our Bedford ESOL Advice Service has done, despite the pandemic, to help reach out and encourage people to learn English who may have otherwise found it hard to access that support.
“Community groups told us they needed more resources invested into community-led English language provision, so we are pleased that the majority of this grant award, as with last year, will be used by local community groups to meet ESOL needs in our communities.”
“Language can be a huge barrier for people to access vital services. Anyone wanting to learn or improve their English can get help to do so via the Bedford ESOL Advice Service website at www.bedfordesol.org.uk. I am really proud of the work that our English Language Partnership does, and my thanks go to our partners in this project: ACCM UK, Kings Arms Project, Noah Academy, PBIC and 1mpact.”
Warren Edwards, Head of Training and Employment at Noah Academy said “Throughout the pandemic we were able to offer those most in need ESOL training online and, where restrictions allowed, face to face delivery in small groups. This not only improved language skills and life chances through community integration but also served to support the mental health of those not only facing physical isolation but also language isolation.
“We are really excited that MHCLG, through the extension of the EFIF project into 2022, has seen the great value that this project has provided and will continue to provide in the future, enabling communities to integrate and grow in confidence. We also hope that the research element of this project will help to provide evidence for future funding and support for those most in need.
“Bedford Borough Council have been wonderful partners and we look forward to working successfully with them again this year.”