Interactive site launches to bring communities together
A new online service to help people learn English as they settle in to life in Leeds was officially launched in the city last week, with the Lord Mayor on hand for a special digital ribbon cutting ceremony.
The Learning English in Leeds (LEL) website is designed to give providers and learners information about finding the right classes to help with key language skills.
Also aiming to help residents build up relationships locally, the site gives people in established communities who want to improve their English more opportunities to learn.
The launch event, hosted by Leeds City Council at the Civic Hall, was attended by learners from the council, The University of Leeds, Leeds City College and Leeds Language College.
Those attending the launch saw a demonstration of the new site, took part in a quiz, and got the chance to talk to other learners about their experiences of learning English as a second language.
The Lord Mayor of Leeds Councillor David Congreve was then joined by some future service users as he performed a digital ribbon cutting to officially launch the new site.
Councillor Ghulam Hussain, Leeds City Council’s lead member for communities, who also attended, said: “This new site will be a massive boost for people who have come to live and work in Leeds and who want to access appropriate English classes.
“By giving people a modern, easy-to-use way of finding out how to pick up key language skills, we can empower them to find the support they need, help them to better integrate into their communities and boost their chances of gaining new employment and learning.”
The new site has been co-ordinated by the LEL Steering Group, which includes the council and local learning providers.
As well as helping people to improve their language skills, it will also help reduce the reliance on interpreting services and give a single point of contact for those wanting to take part.
Dr James Simpson from the University of Leeds, who chairs the partnership steering group, added that the co-ordination of English language provision for new arrivals across Leeds is ‘crucial’.
“Without it, there is no overall picture of what is available or how to find an appropriate English Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) class,” he said.
“The LEL site provides that single point of contact, for learners, those who advise them, and ESOL providers.”