Category: ESOL Project Unite

ESOL Donation


During the run up to Christmas, Barnsley Trades Union Council launched an appeal to assist asylum seekers and refugees in the town.

On Saturday at the end of an Anti-racist 5 a side Football tournament held at the Barnsley Football Club Dave Gibson, on behalf of the BTUC presented a cheque to the value of £300 (part of the total appeal) to Richard Vivian and Brian Clarke, 2 of the volunteers at the Unite Community Support Centre, based at the NUM Headquarters on Huddersfield Road.

Christmas financial appeal for refugee support

Neil, Linda,John, Brian, Tigsiti Tekleab, Mekdes Zewde, Saron Alehayeku.
Neil, Linda,John, Brian, Tigsiti Tekleab, Mekdes Zewde, Saron Alehayeku.

Barnsley Trades Council has launched a Christmas financial appeal in support of refugees. Trade unionists, like millions of other British people, have been shocked and angered by the horrific scenes on our TV screens from Calais, Central Europe and the Greek islands. The sight of dead children being lifted from the sea will not easily be forgotten. We have been angered too at how the Fortress Europe racist mentality shown by most European politicians, including David Cameron and his Tory Government, has only made the situation worse and led directly to refugee deaths.

We have taken inspiration from the positive way that the public has responded to this human man-made catastrophe. It is estimated that 31% of the population have done something to support refugees; 100,000 marched in London in September (with 100 in Barnsley on the same day) and communities all over the country have taken food and clothes to Calais or further afield like Lesbos.

Stand Up To Racism has organised several national convoys to Calais. Half of what we raise in our Appeal will go their national Christmas Appeal. UNITE Community, from their centre in the Barnsley NUM Offices, have organised vital ESOL classes for refugees and are planning a 5 a side tournament at Oakwell in January 2016. The other half we raise will go to support their important work.

Please support our Financial Appeal for Refugee Support. Send cheques to our treasurer, Dave Gibson (address above) made payable to Barnsley Trades Council. We would like to receive them by Wed. 16th December at the latest so we can distribute the money raised before Christmas. We will publish accounts and send a report to the Barnsley Chronicle. (If you have money to send after the 16th please still send it as funds will be needed after Christmas too).

Download the flyer BTUC Xmas appeal amended 2

Brian completes ESOL course


Picture 1 of 5

Barnsley Unite Community Centre Activist Brian Clarke has just finished a weeks training on the ESOL (English for speakers of other languages) facilitators Course in Eastbourne. See pictures attached, this will help with our ESOL classes every Wednesday which are still overstretched with demand! Thanks goes to Brian and all the other activists for there continued passion and efforts. United we bargain Divided we beg.

Red Tattoo Donate £1500 towards Unite Community ESOL Classes!


Barnsley Unite Community Activists would like to say a massive thank you to everyone at Red Tattoo and piercing in Leeds for their generous donation of £1500 towards our ESOL project link to the website here Red Tattoo donated a whole days takings from their shop as well as receiving art work, gifts, cakes and donations on the day which was sold to customers both new and old! Thanks again for everybody who helped! The donation will go a long way to help provide English Classes through the Unite Learning project which the Unite activists are planning on expanding. Watch this space for more developments ……………. Photos from the day below.

ref2 ref3 ref4 ref6 ref7 ref8 ref9 ref10 ref11

Red Tattoo and Piercing Fundraising Day for ESOL *Sunday 27th September*

re3 red1 red2On Sunday 27th September we will be having a fundraising day for ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages).  ESOL is run by Unite Barnsley Community Support Centre and Unite Community Branch alongside the British Red Cross as weekly drop in sessions to help refugees and Asylum Seekers learn English. In order to deliver the course they rely on donations to pay for Unite Community membership (£26 per year) and room hire costs. We hope to raise £1000+ for Unite so they can carry on running these wonderful classes!

Below is some more info about Unite Barnsley’s ESOL Sessions and it contains a very moving story from Linda,who runs the sessions.

“We started the sessions at the end of June and have 15 people every week and some days have had to turn people away as physically haven’t got the room to accommodate.

The students are from mainly from Syria, Eritrea, Iraq, Iran and the Congo. These people have all had difficult journeys in getting to Barnsley, but one couple really ‘got to me’. An elderly couple, a 71 year old Geography Professor and his Physics Lecturer wife in her 60’s from Syria. Talking to them after the class they told me how they had literally fled for their lives after seeing friends beheaded, their home and community burnt to the ground.  I am not one normally lost for words but all I could do was give her a big hug. I cannot imagine my parents going through the same thing at a stage in their lives when they should be enjoying retirement and family.

With regards to the ESOL Project in Barnsley, Barnsley is  one of the designated towns that the Home Office disperse Asylum Seekers and Refugees to whilst there applications are being processed. They are given a meagre allowance of £36.95 a week to buy food and toiletries, if refused asylum this goes down to £35.39.

Refugees are unable to access ESOL at the local College until they have 6 month’s residency and the course costs £ 250. As this group are only given short term residency at a designated accommodation this is not suitable or practical. The sessions that Unite are facilitating are based on everyday situations, i.e. registering with a doctor; making appointments etc., which hopefully give them a base so that even they attend just one session they will hopefully gain a little knowledge. Several of the cohort are also through Unite Community membership accessing Free I.T. courses at the Barnsley C.S.C. Their membership is sponsored via donations from Union Branches in the area.

On the day we will have tattoo walk-ins and piercings all day as well as prints from various artists and a bake sale! Our fundraiser will start at 9.30 am and all tattoos will be done on a first come first serve basis so the earlier you come in the better!

We are also setting up a donation point in the shop for people to drop off clothing and other items to be sent to Calais!

Here is a list from NO BORDERS LEEDS of everything that is needed!

Please only collect wishlist items:

*Strong plastic sheets/tarps/pallets/canvas/building materials for strong shelters (if you come with a van, many places to pick up free pallets and buy materials in Calais)
*Sleeping bags & roll mats
*Non-perishable food, flour & oil
*Containers/Jerrycan for food and water
*Shoes (practical waterproof hiking boots best, size 42 most needed)

You can bring your donations to the shop during opening hours!

Monday to Friday 10 am until 6 pm

Sunday 11 am until 4 pm

PLEASE ONLY DONATE ITEMS FROM THE LIST OF THINGS NEEDED! We will start collecting from Friday 11th September.

More info on Learning with Unite can be found here :

and another link to an award that the programme has won:

Information on more ways you can help refugees in Leeds follow the link below :

Action Packed Day in the Community Centre

Busy day at the office yesterday, 15 ESOL learners in our class today, Richard Vivian gave a lengthy interview with Channel4 about the cruel and unnecessary welfare Reform and the devastating effects on our community’s, and on top of all that we had our fantastic  colleagues from Unite Community Stoke on Trent visit us with David Condliffe! All in all a very good and productive day!

Barnsley Unite Community Center ESOL Classes

No matter what you read or hear in the main stream media, Trade Unions have always existed to help others in society and Unite Community is doing just that in our center with our ESOL Classes. Much of the provision to help Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Barnsley has been cut back or just does not exist at all now due to Austerity.

See below a brief report an a couple of photos from our weekly class, and don’t forget to check out our Computer Class, Radical Library and Welfare Advice!

“Busy morning at the Barnsley Community Support Centre first ESOL session after a 3 week break, 12 learners, 6 of them new, all very enthusiastic”

esol 1

esol 2

Helping Communities with Learning ICT & English

Helping communities is one of the strongest point of Unite The Union and recently the Unite Community Support Centre in Barnsley has recently joined forces with the British Red Cross. This week we have been able to welcome 6 Iranian Asylum seekers into the centre with the objective of assisting them with computer skills and helping them to improve their English.


Within the next few weeks we are confident that we will be in a position to offer the ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) course to them. We are looking forward to working with the British Red Cross new venture.

United Migrant Workers Education Project (UMWEP)

Brian Clarke and myself attended this event on behalf of the Barnsley Unite Community Support Centre in order to observe just what UMWEP is doing, how it is progressing and to give us ideas for the development of the Barnsley Centre.  Our first priority after registration was to introduce ourselves and to explain why we were here, we spoke very briefly with Carlos Cruz – ULR who was constantly being asked questions and dashing around from one room to another ensuring everything was going as planned, obviously a very good organiser, we also asked for permission to take photographs which we were given.

The first items on the days agenda were various workshops, having looked at the programme; we decided that the most appropriate workshop for us to attend was the ESOL On-line, as we are keen to offer this course in Barnsley. ESOL standing for English for Speakers of Other Languages. The tutor for this workshop was Orlando Martins, Regional Learning Organiser based in Norwich. We stayed in the workshop for two sessions listening to Orlando explain to participants what the course involved and what to expect from it. There were only the two sessions for this workshop and Orlando was kind enough to spend another 30 minutes or so explaining to us that he has been teaching this course since November last year he told us how he organises the courses the methods he has found most successful and of course he answered our many questions. Mohammad was keen to learn what qualifications Orlando had to deliver ESOL. Orlando gave the answer but explained that PTTLS was a good starting point and adequate to facilitate the course. It became apparent to Mo and me that this programme could work well in the Barnsley Centre but there are some resources that the Centre would require.

We next spent some time in the Art workshop, not participating but observing what the students were doing and looking at their work. We took several photographs of art work on display.  Next was the drama workshop where we watched what was taking place, unfortunately for us, in this workshop only Spanish was spoken so we had to guess what the students were doing by their actions rather than words. It appeared that they were re-enacting a scene where they as immigrant workers were being abused and even physically attacked.  We then had the opportunity to speak with Lesley Stevenson, Equality, Diversity and Community Coordinator, a long-time friend of mine, Lesley explained the origins of UMWEP and its development to the present day and of the strengths of Carlos Cruz.  Lunch was next on the programme which was very good with a mixture of Latin American foods on offer including Rice, Congrie (Black Beans) fried banana, fried pork, chicken, salad and a samosa type pasty with salsa with either orange or apple juice.  Linda Hughes, Union Learning Organiser in our Region introduced herself (Mo had met her previously) and we chatted to her about the project.

Click on Images to view the slide show !

After lunch everyone gathered in the auditorium, we were surprised just how many people there were present. A welcome was given by I think Steve Rowlatt, unfortunately the PA system was not working and my hearing is not good. Greetings from Len McClusky and Jim Mowatt were read out.

This was followed by a contribution from Carlos Cruz, mainly in Spanish and a short film which featured Paul Robeson singing Joe Hill. During the contribution from Carlos he emphasised this project was not all about learning, it was also about organising, expressing the point that we cannot do much on our own as individuals but collectively in a trade union we can make changes and progress. Carlos also explained the situation and unfairness of Colombian Isabella Acevedo who was cleaner for Tory MP Mark Harper; he was reinstated as a junior minister after it was revealed that he had been employing Ms Acevedo illegally. Ms Acevedo has now been deported back to Colombia. He reported that UMWEP was now attended by people from 27 different nationalities, speaking 34 languages. (We had been told earlier that today the majority of people are from Latin America and the organisers are trying to encourage people of other Nationalities. Unfortunately at this stage we had to leave to catch our train back to Barnsley.  Myself and Brian spoke at length on the train about what we had seen and heard and learned and how these ideas could be utilised in the Barnsley Centre.