English lessons for Ukrainians in Mid Sussex get funding

Two Mid Sussex women are raising money for English lessons for Ukrainian refugees in the district.

Sarah Lawrance, 52, and Emma Tingley, 48, have raised nearly all of their £4,800 GoFundMe goal after teaming up with Sussex Tuition Centre in Haywards Heath.

Emma, of Langmore Lane in Lindfield, said: "We're bowled over as it means we can start lessons straight away and we can get resources straight away."

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They said Sussex Tuition Centre had already donated its space with many teachers prepared to give an hour of free teaching each week.

Sarah Lawrance (left) and Emma Tingley have raised more than £4,000 for English lessons for Ukrainian refugees in Mid Sussex

But they said the refugees ideally need intensive teaching so they are funding an extra 15 hours a week for three groups – beginners, intermediates and children.

"We were going to offer something very small but it's become a lot bigger than that," said Sarah.

She said they are now teaching about 30 adults and 15 children with lessons for kids running at the same time because there is no childcare provision.

Lessons began on Wednesday, May 25.

Sarah and Emma said the teaching will help prepare Ukrainian children for school in England and prepare the adults for work.

Emma, who has a Ukrainian guest staying with her, said: "They've all got Visas as part of the Homes for Ukraine scheme to be able to work in the UK and a lot of the people who have come over are smart professionals in skilled jobs."

But she said that not speaking English would limit their prospects and could cut them off from the community.

Sarah said she is one of the teachers.

"By degree I'm a modern linguist – Russian and French," she said, adding that she helped found the tuition centre after moving back to the UK six years ago.

Sarah has previously worked for The British Council in Sri Lanka, and said she has worked in education all her life. Her Masters is in teaching English as a foreign language.

Emma added that they have also approached Haywards Heath Baptist Church who are offering space.

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