Action Foundation is a charity founded in 2006 to provide support for isolated people in Tyneside, and opportunities to help them overcome their exclusion. We run 3 projects: Action Housing, Action Letting and Action Language. Over the last 8 years Action Language has provided free Skills for Life English lessons, delivered by qualified volunteer English teachers, to learners who are unable to access mainstream ESOL provision. Our aim is to provide every student with a supportive learning experience that is appropriate to their needs. We enrol over 800 students per year and run 30 free classes per week for 6 different levels, from absolute beginner to advanced. We also run funded Employability courses; a high proportion of graduates from this course (30+%) go on to find paid employment, significantly higher than other similar courses.
In our free classes, we have many volunteer classroom assistants to support students in their learning. This not only helps students with their English but also provides a social environment which encourages them and improves their confidence. Currently, we have over 100 volunteers working with us in either teaching or classroom assistant roles.
As well as our free classes, we offer affordable fee paying courses for students who want more intensive exam preparation classes, such as preparation for Academic IELTS and Cambridge English: First. These fee-paying courses help to support the free classes, and the fee-paying side of Action Language is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK (October 2016).
In October, 2014 we were awarded the Centre for Social Justice Award for social action, a national prize given to only 5 charities annually and in November, 2015 we received The Guardian Charity Award, another prestigious national award in which we were chosen ahead of over 1200 nominees.
As noted above, Action Foundation already has close contact with a significant number of asylum seekers and refugees, many of whom have professional qualifications in their own countries. Current and former students include Coptic Christian Egyptian and Sudanese pharmacists, a Pakistani consultant dermatologist, Algerian nurses, Sudanese teachers, an Iraqi physicist, a Libyan air-traffic controller and a Syrian civil engineer as well as other migrants from a wide range of national and professional backgrounds.
Nicola Brooks (MA (Hons), Dip. TESOL) – Project Manager of Action Language, and will lead Action Foundation’s part in this project. Nicola spent 10 years as an English teacher in the UK and abroad before joining Action Foundation, and her role in Action Language now includes recruitment, training and CPD for staff and volunteers, as well as teaching, mentoring, curriculum development and growing every aspect of the English school, and contributing the wider work of Action Foundation, enabling asylum seekers and other migrants to settle securely into life in the North East of England.