Loneliness is not just about being on your own - you might feel lonely due to reasons such as starting a new job, becoming a new parent or moving away from home.
Imagine if you were moving to a completely new country, where you were not familiar with the culture, and also did not speak the language – how lonely could that feel?
The Place Based Social Action (PBSA) programme delivered by the Foundation’s Community Organising team in the Sincil Bank neighbourhood of Lincoln is designed to connect, support and bring together local people. One of the aims of the programme is to increase engagement with migrant communities, especially due to the fact that people who do not speak English as their first language can often find it hard to integrate and can become quite lonely and isolated.
As part of Loneliness Awareness Week, Senior Community Organsier, Alice Carter, reflects on her experiences working with the international community through the Conversation Classes the Foundation delivers. These classes teach English to non-native speakers in accessible community settings within the Sincil Bank neighbourhood:
"How would I feel packing up my belongings and moving to a new country where I either do not speak the language and/or do not feel confident conversing with others? If I am honest, I would feel quite scared and lonely. That is why I admire the individuals we engage with at our Conversation Classes across Lincoln City Foundation, as many have done just this."
"I work mainly with advanced learners, supporting them to feel confident in conversational English and developing their self-belief to progress onto further opportunities, be that employment, community volunteering or simply feeling more able to engage in British life. One of the joys of this role is being able to see people’s journeys as they progress from attending their first class and often being quite shy, to a few months later receiving a request for a job reference, or them telling me they have gained a volunteer placement."
"Each week in classes we have a theme of conversation, and topics range from the environment, to food, to current debates and everything in between. I have personally learnt so much about different countries and cultures, and it has made my understanding of the world far richer. Friendships are built between participants, and I hope they see me as a friendly face too."
"Feeling lonely is something we all experience at times in life, but I hope that the Conversation Classes we offer at the Foundation provide a platform for individuals to form new connections and develop skills and confidence which enable them to go on to engage more widely within communities."
Whilst the delivery of face to face Conversation Classes is currently paused due to the Coronavirus outbreak, virtual English lessons have still been continuing. These online sessions have been helping to keep individuals in touch with one another, as well as providing a platform to learn English in new ways.
If you would like to find out more about Conversation Classes or the Foundation’s PBSA programme, please get in touch with the Community Organising team: firstname.lastname@example.org