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Adding value at the heart of the community

Published: Tue, 19 Apr 2016
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Our Good Relations Officer, Emma Galway with the Lagan Village Youth and Community Group's George Newell and advice worker, Csilla Borbely.
Lagan Valley Centre
New-comers to the lower Ravenhill can access valuable language and advice services to support them as they make the adjustment to life in the area.
Through our funding, the Lagan Village Youth Centre is able to offer vital English language classes and a weekly advice service.
The language classes help participants learn ‘Easy English, My Way’ and a variety of nationalities, including Roma, Polish and Hungarian, have been able to avail of classes. The nearby Nettlefield Primary School has also helped promote the classes amongst the children and their parents.
Class teacher, Gareth Montgomery, said:
“Those who attend our class learn basic grammar, reading, writing, listening and speaking skills all of which helps them access vital services. When they have gained the confidence participants can go on to develop their English through a more traditional exam based language class at a local college.”
For two hours each week a room is set aside where, for the past two years, an advice worker has helped various nationalities settle further into Belfast. The advice service is open every Friday for two hours and offers a vital link to services. It helps with registering for a GP negotiate benefit entitlement and look to the various paths to gain employment.
Csilla Borbely, who is the advice worker, said:
“The advice service can help with a diverse range of challenges from the complicated to the simple and can include landlord issues, seeking schools, finding out about after school opportunities for children, moving house and dealing with utilities. Solving the issues can be of great help in settling a family into the area.”
Class being led by teacher, Gareth Montgomery (right).
Lagan valley Teaching
George Newell, of Lagan Village Youth and Community Group, said:
“Both of these services are helping tackle communication barriers from developing basic language skills through to dealing with local authorities we have the opportunity to help. We are seeing a knock on effect as people come into the centre they then find out what other opportunities we have, including the parent and toddler group and sewing classes. It has opened up many avenues for people to the area and helped them feel part of the Lower Ravenhill. I’d like to thank the Housing Executive for their support of our work. ”
Our remit goes beyond bricks and mortar and this is a further example of how it supports local communities.
Our Area Manager, Gary Ballantyne, commented:
“We were pleased to support these initiatives by Lagan Village Youth and Community group through our Community Cohesion funding. They are contributing positively to community relations and creating opportunities for greater interaction between different groups with diverse cultures. I commend all who are involved.”