Visiting FaithAction Members in Birmingham
Last week I went on a trip to Birmingham to see some of our projects in action along with Martin. We visited 3 Innovation Fund projects, and also the Nishkam Civic Association, where I got to observe their Creative English class.
The Innovation Fund projects are particularly close to my heart as I was the administrator for the fund. I got to see all the applications come through, spoke with a lot of people over the phone or by email and even got to meet some interested applicants face to face when we did “Meet The Funder” at our national conference in November. I am in regular contact with our winning projects and have a monthly call each month to see how they are progressing.
It’s been great hearing about how well they have all been doing but it was even better to see it for myself and the impact the projects are making on the community.
We started our visits by going to see the Polish Expats Association who are running a jewellery making course whilst teaching English at the same time. It was only a small group on the day but you could see how much the learners were enjoying it and there has been a lot of interest from the Polish community in the project. The class was delivered in a relaxed environment and we were made to feel very welcome.
The following day we went to the launch event for New Hope’s “Creative Arts and English Course” where it was presented to the local community, MPs and press. The event was well attended and we got to hear from various people about the benefits this project will have on the community. It was great learning more about New Hope and exciting to hear their plans for the project which I’m confident will be a big success
Our final stop was Bangladeshi Women’s Association to see their “Hidden Chefs” project. Learners had prepared a buffet of traditional cuisine which was then judged by a panel made up of local residents and the learners were also interviewed in English about their experiences from the class. Martin and I also got to try some of the cuisine which tasted great even if I do struggle with spice! Residents from Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Somalian and Yemeni backgrounds have all been engaged through the project where they learn all about ingredients in English and how to purchase them in one session followed by preparing a meal for the local community in the next session. This project has lead to greater activity in the local community and improved confidence in English speaking for the residents.
It was commented on at Bangladeshi Women’s Association how good it was that we’d taken the time to come visit and this is something that we at FaithAction always enjoy doing. All in all it was a really good trip and I look forward to visiting more projects in the future.