In response to a need in the Cork City Region, the Mercy Sisters, enabled Sister Celestine Forrest to set up ‘The Welcome English Language Centre’ to teach English to asylum seekers. In recent years it became clear that there was a need for English classes for other immigrants in the Cork area who couldn’t afford paid classes and were in danger of becoming marginalised.
The Centre has now widened its scope to include refugees and unemployed immigrants, many who have come from the new accession countries in the EU.
From a starting point of just one class with a handful of students the centre has grown to cater for 200 students a day from 53 countries with the help of 45 volunteer tutors.
The centre offers classes in six levels ranging from Pre-Beginner to Upper Intermediate. The teaching schedule includes classes from Monday to Thursday 10.30am to 12.30pm and Monday to Thursday 2.00pm to 4.00pm.
Each session contains a break where tea/coffee and biscuits are available to all. This affords the students an opportunity to interact and share their particular experiences in an informal way if they so wish.
People who work in Centres such as ‘Welcome English’, become very aware of the vulnerability of those students, who come mostly from the most troubled zones in the world, to find refuge on our shore. So many of them have been exposed to indescribable suffering, and while still very traumatised they have fled to our island for refuge. The prospect of a new life in a country, world renowned for its generosity and its long history of Christian and Missionary activity throughout the world, offered them a glimmer of hope. They provide support, not only for the teaching of English, but look out for signs of negativity or depression in the students and offer encouragement; they lend a listening ear and assistance, when possible, to enable the students to cope with problems encountered outside the Centre.
Welcome English Language Centre
Office – 021 4316537
Mobile: 087 2281584