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News release from: 17/03/2023

English classes help more than 100 Ukraine adults and children settle into life in South Cambridgeshire

English classes help more than 100 Ukraine adults and children settle into life in South Cambridgeshire

More than 100 Ukraine guests have learnt English to help them settle into life in a new country thanks to classes funded by South Cambridgeshire District Council.

The classes have transformed life for more than 100 children and adults of all ages and are part of a wider package of support from the Council since families began arriving from war-torn Ukraine almost a year ago.

Guests have enjoyed free lessons as part of the Homes for Ukraine scheme and have praised the Council for helping them find the confidence to settle into their new communities. Feedback from the lessons includes:

  • One woman said: “I’ve found support and a warm, homely atmosphere after those horrific events I was condemned to suffer back at home, in Ukraine."
  • A mother who attends weekly lessons with her toddler said: "This is our best day of the week. My daughter is so happy playing here. It’s like a club with friends."
  • Olesya Gagaeva said: “People who were forced to flee from the war in our country feel sincere support. This is important for each of us. It is difficult to find the words that can express the gratitude we feel. You are doing difficult, important and very good work - the work of humanity. As we say to good friends, thank you to the sun and back!”
  • Iryna Tsepova said: “I came to Britain at the end of March 2022, with no knowledge whatsoever of English. The teachers make the lessons accessible, taking into account the age of the students and the constant stress they are experiencing. It is very important for beginners learning English there is translation into Russian.”
  • A course tutor said: "Few course providers care about students as much as you do, and word about your kindness and enthusiasm is spreading fast among the Ukrainian community."

English classes

Cllr Bill Handley, lead cabinet member for Communities at South Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “Being forced to flee your country and start a new life must be frightening, especially when you can’t speak the language, so helping Ukraine guests integrate into the community is essential,” he said. “The feedback shows how much these English lessons are valued.”

He added: “We hope this positive impact created for others, may inspire more local people to consider becoming a host to offer a safe, supportive space to a family. Our latest campaign is urging anyone with a spare room to consider hosting a Ukraine family who are already settled here and have formed friendships, secured jobs, and their children have started school. In return, hosts receive £500 a month. Current hosts say they enjoy knowing they have made a difference by doing something truly rewarding. Find out more by contacting HFULiaison@scambs.gov.uk.”

There have been 794 guests arrive in South Cambridgeshire under the Homes for Ukraine programme. making it among the highest number of Visas granted in England.

The English classes funded by the District Council are hosted by A Learning Place and Russian speaking society, CAMRUSS.

Other comments from students include:

  • Olena Zaitseva said: “I am very grateful to all those who organise and run the English courses. It really helps us in a new life in a new country.”
  • Iryna Holovachuk said: “I would like to express my gratitude towards South Cambridgeshire District Council for the help they have given in studying English, which is so necessary. A lovely community has come together on these courses, with good teachers and administrators.”
  • Tamara Goncharova said: “I am very happy I’ve found support and a warm, homely atmosphere after those horrific events I was condemned to suffer back home. I’d like to express my profound gratitude to South Cambridgeshire District Council and the organisers of these courses for the opportunity to study English. The teachers and administrators are very friendly and create a fantastic basis for a calm life in a new country.”
  • Nataliia Polikarpova said: “As someone who was starting to learn the language from zero, it was very challenging. However, thanks to Peter Yurasov (tutor), a clear, structured picture has emerged, and progress is visible.”English lessons

A Learning Place provides free, weekly, informal English Classes for adults and older children. Activities and toys are provided for younger children. Learners range from beginner to advanced. To join contact Amy on 07753 282967 or email hello@alearningplace.co.uk or complete the form.

  • Cottenham - Tuesdays 17.30
  • Sawston - Thursdays 16.15, 17.30 and 18.45
  • Waterbeach - Wednesdays 16.30 and 17.40

The Cambridge Russian-Speaking Society (CAMRUSS) classes take place at St Andrew’s Street Baptist Church in Cambridge. There are nine student groups age 18 to 79, ranging from beginners to those aiming to enter the Higher Education system or academic jobs. There are 10 places available at the moment. Students should sign up via this form