Students give free English lessons to refugees and asylum seekers in Skelmersdale

A group of students are offering free English lessons to refugees from all over the world.

It is a part of an initiative, called The Ask Club aims to help refugees and asylum seekers in any way they can.

The classes are free, and run by masters students from Edge Hill University at the Ecumenical Centre in Skelmersdale.

The Partnership allows the University students to get experience and allows the club to get English teachers in for free to support the refugee and asylum seekers.

Morella Vargas from Edgehill University said: "It really is a good opportunity for them to learn and for us to use what we have, our ability to teach."

The hope is that these English lessons will help people to integrate better into the community.

The Ecumenical Centre in Skelmersdale works in partnership with Lancashire County Council to provide a Refugee and Asylum advice centre every week, a community interpreting service as well as finding creative ways to provide activities that help people from Refugee an Asylum-seeking communities to develop their English skills. 

Sinead Martin, Centre Manager said: "Learning the language, connecting with others and engaging in social activities are essential to achieving true integration.

"Food poverty, fuel poverty and the challenges faced by people who are socially, digitally and economically excluded are part of a tidal wave of needs that we: and the charities that base themselves under our roof, try to help with, every day.

"We do all of this on shoestring budget and reply heavily on the support of volunteers, partner agencies such as Edge Hill University and Douglas Valley Outreach to achieve our goals."

The Ask club provides a range of support from basic food to help with housing and applications.

While the partnership with The Ask Club and Edge Hill University has been a success, Matthew Wright, the organiser of Ask feels more needs to be done.

He said: "At the moment there are 2,000 asylum seekers in Lancashire, that's supposed to grow to 5000 so services like ours are going to be even more important."

The lessons started on 7 March and will run until early July.