The Equal Voices project at this East London training provider supports new migrant and refugee women living in social isolation or economic deprivation to become community leaders.
It was developed following a call from Hackney Citizens and TELCO (The East London Community Organisers) for more representation of people from migrant backgrounds in campaigning. The project involves a range of activities, from capability workshops celebrating women’s skills to community volunteering and wraparound English for speakers of other languages (Esol) training.
It has led to the creation of a wide variety of events and activities that have had a transformative impact on the participants. In 2016-17, the 104 women who took part ran seven listening campaigns; 58 community conversation sessions with over 40 regular attendees; five national campaigns; five local campaigns; seven capability workshops; and three charity fundraisers.
Through Equal Voices, 102 women (98 per cent) achieved qualifications at entry level 3, level 1 or level 2 in Esol or functional skills, while 13 per cent gained employment and 81 per cent moved on to further study.
Perhaps more impressive, 24 of the women who took part in the programme became community guides themselves, and continue to engage other disempowered or isolated local people.
The judges said: “This is about a project that is going above and beyond. What ELATT is doing here is really quite profound. The project really goes into the community in ways that challenge all sorts of racial and gender stereotypes. And it works.”
Winners attended a black-tie event at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London, hosted by the comic and actor Alan Davies, where more than 800 attendees celebrated and showcased the most exciting ideas, the best practice and the most inspiring teaching and leadership to be found in the further education sector.