A look back over the last year

It was only when I was putting together some information about our Talking Together project in Birmingham, Coventry and Leicester and saw things ‘in numbers’ that I thought, WOW! We really have achieved so much over the last year.

Talking Together is our volunteering project which offers informal spoken language training to UK residents who have little or no knowledge of English, mostly women from the Bangladeshi, Somali and Pakistani communities. So, what’s been happening  in The Midlands?

·        We recruited and trained 62 volunteers

·        We held 17 volunteer training days

·        364 learners registered for the classes, with 316 completing the course

·        We worked with 19 local community organisations to deliver our courses

Maybe it’s because I really enjoy my job as the Project Coordinator, and it didn’t feel too much like work  that I didn’t realise how much we had accomplished. You go about your job each day, training volunteers, meeting new delivery partners, attending classes, ticking off the to-do list, never stopping to think about the impact the project is having amongst our stakeholders.

We have recruited and trained 62 volunteers – a huge success for our project, as without our volunteers we would not be able to deliver our English classes. We have been impressed by the amount of time and dedication our volunteers have given to us, with many choosing to remain a volunteer and teach extra courses. I am a big believer that this volunteering opportunity is popular because it is so hands on and practical, and really gives our volunteers an experience which increases self-confidence, develops personal and professional skills and provides a sense of achievement.

364 learners registered on Talking Together, with 316 completing the course. Having attended quite a few classes, I have seen first-hand the change in the women who take part. At the first class, learners tend to be quite shy and lacking in confidence. As the classes continue, there is a genuine increase in their participation, enjoyment and improved English Language. I make no secret that one of my favourite classes is the celebration class on the last day. Yes, it is partly that I enjoy the home cooked biryani and samosas the women cook to share, but mainly because I am always so overwhelmed with how far the women have come, and how much they want to talk to me and ask me questions in English.

We have worked with 19 delivery partners, who host and deliver the classes. We work with a variety of partners, including primary schools, community centres and small charities. Their role is crucial to the success of Talking Together, as they link the women to our classes.

And now we are well into the next phase of our project, with a drive for new volunteers and new delivery partners across the Midlands and in London.  Would you like to be a part of Talking Together? We are looking for volunteers in London, Birmingham, Coventry and Leicester so if you are interested take a  look here and  get in touch: for the Midlands project talk to Leanne@timebank.org.uk or phone her on 07835300931 and if you’d like to get involved in our London project, contact calley@timebank.org.uk, tel: 0203 111 7000.