As a volunteer running a Conversation Club in Waltham Forest, I was recruited by a Migrants' Support Group (REAP) in West Drayton to offer some English conversation practice with some of the 600 people in a hotel there, waiting for the Home Office to decide whether or not they can remain in the UK. Most of them have endured long journeys, some travelling for several years. On 4th January I received 8 names and phone numbers of people seeking asylum. Over the next couple of weeks I phoned each of them and invited them to join a zoom Conversation Club. I also decided to call S, who understood very little of what I was saying, every day for 10 minutes a day. I called him from the kitchen, the garden, the shed, a café in the park, the allotment, just talking about things around me and asking about his surroundings too.
I enjoyed our conversations, and this gave me the idea that I could recruit other people to do the same, so I sent an email to a few friends and relations and asked the asylum seekers if they'd like to talk to someone for 10 minutes a day. Since REAP stands for "Refugees in Effective and Active Partnership", I shall refer to the people who took up the offer as partners. If you would like to join us, please take the time to read through all 4 pages and send me an email when you have read carefully through the page in which I set out the conditions for you to become "Trusted Friends".