PRESS RELEASE - Talking politics

Migrant women give local politicians a grilling at Blackfriars Settlement

Migrant women ESOL students had a unique pre-election opportunity to ask four local politicians some burning questions at the ‘Talking politics’ event at Blackfriars Settlement on 4th March 2015. The students had prepared and submitted their questions in advance and this ‘Question time’ event, chaired by Mark Beach the new Director at Blackfriars Settlement, saw Councillor Neil Coyle (Deputy Mayor of Southwark and Labour candidate for Bermondsey and Old Southwark), Councillor William Lavin (Green Party candidate for Bermondsey and Old Southwark), Lord Mike Storey (Liberal Democrat spokesperson on education, families and young people in the House of Lords) and Momtaz Rahman (Project Manager, The Migrants’ Rights Network) having to think on their feet and respond to questions such as:

  • How can you help us get good jobs as immigrants?
  • What would you do to ensure there is more affordable accommodation in the private rental sector?
  • Why is it so difficult to get free English courses? What would you do about this?
  • What would you do to ensure that EU immigrants are coming to the UK to work and not to claim benefits?

The students are all learning English on the innovative Active Citizenship and English (ACE) project, which is funded by the European Integration Fund and led by Learning Unlimited in partnership with Blackfriars Settlement, Working Men’s College and UCL Institute of Education.

‘Events like this give women who are planning to settle in the UK a fantastic opportunity to develop the skills and confidence to play an active part in UK society,’ said Karen Dudley, the ACE Project Manager from Learning Unlimited. ‘They also provide a valuable opportunity for local stakeholders to hear directly from UK residents who can typically be marginalised and unheard.’

This lively event, attended by over 60 students, volunteers and staff, ended with participants casting their votes – and if the results from this this mock election are anything to go by, expect a change in government!

Press Release